“Thinking back on it, I was like ‘You know this is happening in other major cities and not in San Antonio, if anyone were going to create one they would have by now.’ I thought about how I was a kid and how I always wanted to be involved with something musically in a band setting and not in a typical high school band, orchestra type setting. That's all I ever wanted when I was young and in school to get more of an education in like...rock,” explained Director Ecko Diaz who has been spearheading the San Antonio Girls Rock Camp initiative to Sobre Sound.
While it seems as though women are dominating in various music genres recently and more opportunities for musicians seem to be arising but what about the youngsters just starting to get their foot in the door when it comes to music?
While the typical high school music setting does teach important fundamentals such as reading music and discipline, it does not prepare those who are looking to engage in music careers for the long run that aren’t in a classical setting. There’s no preparedness for networking, recording an album and everything that comes with being in a band.
Diaz told Sobre Sound that the idea of a girl’s rock camp has been on her mind since she’s volunteered at one based out of Austin Texas. In fact, rock camps pertaining to young girls has become an international occurrence. It would be a safe space where young womyn who are curious about music to come learn and have fun.
Girls Camp Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit in the U.S., has since spread like wild fire all around the globe from Los Angeles to Germany to Brazil. Their shared mission is “to empower girls and women using the tools of music education to foster self-esteem and confidence. To this end, the GRCA promotes, strengthens, and expands services provided by its affiliated camps. GRCA provides resources and networking opportunities for its member camps, and promotes the establishment of like-minded institutions worldwide.”
“The concept [for San Antonio’s chapter] is for middle school aged girls [genderfluid/non-binary, and trans girls] to sign up to be a part of this camp,” disclosed Diaz, “You don’t have to have any prior experience to join, we will show you things like proper instrumentation, body awareness, DIY printmaking for band shirts and on the last day we’re going to have a showcase at a venue where they basically play the song they’ve been working on for their friends and family.”
San Antonio Girls Rock Camp is hoping that after a week of camp:
- 14% increase in girls who affirm: "My opinion matters."
- 8% increase in girls who affirm: "I know what to do when someone tells me, 'You can't do that because you're a girl.'"
- 15% increase in girls who affirm: "I have good ideas."
Diaz also explained that they were going to try and get local bands to perform during the girls’ lunch time so they can see just how it’s done.
However, this is more than just your teenage angst out on a microphone and learning some chords, this camp will provide young women insight into what they will be facing in their adolescent years and in life. Diaz explained that she feels that at 11-14 years old, children are quick to learn and impressionable. This is also the point in their life where children are developing their own style and even music taste. There is a lot of negativity among music scenes where other musicians are tearing each other down, women musicians fighting with other musicians when it should be about community and this is the age to instill those values of togetherness and support.
Workshops and classes will include:
- History of Women of Rock- spotlighting key players in Rock n’ Roll History
- Gender and Diversity - discussing what “gender” means and how people identify themselves
- Body Positivity - discussing different body types, identifying negative views and reaffirming positive values
- Healthy Relationship and Communication Skills - pinpointing characteristics of unhealthy relationships and developing skills to effectively communicate.
- Musical Instrumentation- learning the basics of their instrument and learning to play in a band setting.
- DIY Printmaking - a How-To for making band shirts and prints.
Diaz has been hard at work teaming up with folks who have non-profit experience such as Ashley Mireles and those in local music scene to make this dream for young girls a reality by Summer 2017. San Antonio Girls Rock Camp is currently looking for volunteers and equipment/ supplies donations and will host their first fundraising event that includes raffles and live performances by Fea, Yoshimoto, Grupo Frackaso and DJ JJ Lopez at Bang Bang Bar on September 23 with a $5 suggested donation and more information could be found here.
For more information, enrollment and volunteering please visit www.sarockcamp.org.