Bay Area Girls Rock Camp (2014)

Bay Area Girls Rock Camp’s innovative programs provide opportunities for girls to express themselves and develop musical skills while receiving support from female mentors. Through music lessons, workshops, and performance, our participants build confidence as they acquire skills that help them shine on stage and everywhere in their lives.

BAGRC brings together girls ages 8-18 from a wide variety of backgrounds; most come from under-resourced schools and low-income families, and about 70% are girls of color. Our innovative music education model encourages healthy exploration with an emphasis on process, not perfection. “Campers” form bands and attend instruction in bass, drums, guitar, keyboard, or vocals. Unlike many music programs, BAGRC youth write original songs in the styles of their choosing, which helps them fully develop their creative visions. Campers also attend empowering workshops in which they develop artistic skills, explore identity, and build skills to resist discrimination and oppression. Recent topics included DIY Music Technology, Image & Identity, Self-Defense, and Women’s Music Herstory. Our radical approach to female empowerment is guided by anti-oppression principles, and we offer girls a supportive environment in which they work together across differences and thrive in an atmosphere of mutual support and respect.

BAGRC’s unique mix of activities helps girls develop the confidence, technical skills, and tools for self-expression they need to realize their full potential. Campers share their new skills at the showcase finale, where they play original songs for an enthusiastic crowd. This experience has a profound effect on girls’ self-esteem, as they experience the satisfaction of mastering something difficult and the thrill of sharing their skills with the community. As one explained, “After the showcase I felt like I had accomplished something everyone was proud of. I have never felt as awesome as I did that day.”

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