Greetings, everyone. I wish I could have attended tonight’s Girls Rock Camp Houston showcase, but Act Your Age‘s Kristen and I were fortunate enough to teach our music history workshop to the campers last Friday. We also got to meet the organization’s director and volunteer base, as well as see some of the girls rock in rehearsal. Here’s what I took from the experience.
1. Always trust your co-facilitator. Even if she’s going through some potentially major changes in her life, trust that it doesn’t mean your friendship or professional relationship is over. A door may close, but it doesn’t mean a window won’t open. Give her space. Believe in her. Believe in what you’ve accomplished together. Remember that you’re both invested in the radical potential of female friendships.
2. I know how to change a tire and put on a spare, even though it never came up on the trip. I’m a 27-year-old feminist. C’mon.
3. I learned how to navigate parts of Houston I’ve never been to before. I had a great co-pilot of course, but I’m incredibly proud of this as I never drove around in Houston growing up because I didn’t have a car and it’s a difficult city to navigate.
4. Always take your hostess up on the offer to meet the director and some of the volunteers at the local bar (in this case, Grand Prize). Do this even when you’re tired and nervous and a little smelly from the road. Bonding time with GRC ladies is always important. Doing it over shots while debating the merits of feminism and Kim Gordon’s musicianship, chatting about body hair, and discussing M*A*S*H‘s depictions of race relations make you forget the stink of a long drive.
5. Never underestimate moms. They may volunteer for the organization and, in your case, sit in on your workshop and provide feedback. They should be as much a part of this as the cranky third wave generation putting this together.
6. Holding the camp at a university has its advantages. Technology was not a problem, though a temporary blackout threatened to derail our plans.
7. Sometimes the girls can be a handful. This was actually our first workshop where we had problems keeping the girls focused and talking out of turn. Thus, don’t underestimate the value of having counselors interspersed within the aggregate and always request it if they don’t do it automatically, as younger girls may need another adult to monitor them. But don’t let minor disruptive behavior distract or discourage you. Take a deep breath, remain calm, and never ask to be taken seriously. Demand respect by embodying it, and hope that the girls are learning by your example. You rock.
8. Observe what other workshop facilitators do and how they conduct themselves around the girls. Pay particular attention to the ones who make their living as teachers, as you lack certification. Listen to what the girls say during those workshops as well. Always be receptive toward what you can learn.
9. Never let taste determine what you think a girl musician will do, as you will always be suprised. The girls may say declare unequivocal love for a variety of pop female vocalists, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be bands with two keyboardists and no guitarist that make spooky music that blows your mind. At each showcase I’ve been to in Austin, I’m reminded that the bands who perform have more ideas than about 95% of the local bands I’ve seen. This creativity amongst girls is without a geography. It exists everywhere.
Congrats, Girls Rock Houston. Thanks for letting us share your first session with you, good luck in the summers ahead, and feel free to call if you want us to rock out with you again.