Rock Camp Weekend, Adrian & The Sickness, and Female Empowerment

One of many awesome things about this weekend was getting to see performances by local artists/the camp instructors and coaches, in what felt like private shows in the Griffin School auditorium.  Heather, the bassist from Adrian and the Sickness, was the coach for my band - Rock Candy - and her group performed for us Saturday night. Afterwards, we told Heather she couldn't come back in the practice room because she was too intimidating.  All three of those girls were incredible musicians - and I could hardly take a picture of Adrian because her body moved around the stage almost as fast as her fingers moved along the fret board.  They are having a CD release party at Momo's on November 7th; I and my housemates shall be there.

Saturday afternoon we got to see Elizabeth Jackson of Darling New Neighbors.  Any girl who can rock an accordion, a violin, has a beautiful voice, and can sing about amputation, gets high marks in my system.  Her full band has a guitarist and a drummer in it, and I'd love to see them live.  I'm curious how someone even gets in to playing the accordion - are there teachers for that in most cities?

On Sunday we got to watch our voice instructor, Akina Adderley, perform on piano with her husband on this drum-type thing from Brazil.  She writes her own beautifully heartbreaking songs and also does a killer version of Crazy.  Her full band is called Akina Adderley and the Vintage Playboys, and they play all over Austin. 

During the program, campers are divided up for instrument instruction.  This is Terri, who also did the song writing workshop, on stage with the drummer girls during a class. 

We got to run through a rehearsal of our songs on Sunday - I couldn't remember the ten lines of the song, so I'm reading them off the cheat sheet taped to the music stand.  Clearly, I could never act for soap operas. I gave up on playing chords and singing at the same time.  I also fail at patting my head and rubbing my stomach in unison.  Maybe next time. 

I really hope there's funding to bring Girls Rock into after school programming at my school.  From what I've observed, a large percentage of the female population at the high school where I work need female musician role models that don't base their careers on the number of gyrations they can make per minute while undertaking the difficult task of not busting the stitches in their clothing.

Eliminating the grey scale, most of my girls fall into the overly rambunctious and obnoxiously loud category, or the wilting flowers category.  I'd love to see them focus their energies into something both empowering and constructive, and/or realize that they are capable of being empowered and constructive simultaneously.  While the number of babies present on our campus could be a testament to lack of adequate birth control education, it's also an attribute of a severe self-esteem deficit.  The girls wield an obvious power over their teenage male counterparts, but many of them think this is the only source of power they have, which is a huge, and detrimental, fallacy.  On the wilting flower side, I also like the philosophy that "there's no sorry at rock camp."  Rather than say "I'm sorry" for little mistakes, girls (and ladies) have to say "I rock."  I have some girls at work who need to adopt this mantra. 

At first glance, it often seems that some of the girls have disgustingly high respect for themselves, but the swapping of studies for hem lines is evidence of confidence falsely presented.  Music may not be the path to empowerment for all girls, but it's hard to ignore that most of the girls who are not teenage mothers, don't get in trouble for dress code violations, and do better in class, are in band or a sport.  We've tried very hard to bring in a program that really engages our ladies who aren't in other activities, but current evidence suggests we're missing the mark for the majority so far.  A couple of girls actually participated in Capoeira today by playing the drums.  Perhaps this is evidence of musical inclination?  Hopefully, I'll get to find out.