Women Who Rock

Thank God it’s Friday. I haven’t said this in a long time because it’s been a long time since I’ve had a full-time 9-5 job, approximately 5 months to be exact. Those months have been glamorous sleep filled, mostly stress free months wherein I got to try my hand at owning my own business. What I wasn’t very prepared for is the difficulty of the market and the ability to sell my small home office space. I had to skimp on space in order to cut costs. Well, it’s five months later and it’s not that I’ve given up, but I’ve decided that maybe small business ownership isn’t for me at this time and the future will hold that for me instead.
In the meantime as I transition out of small business ownership I am focusing primarily on writing and creative output. I’m actually transitioning my career as a whole and looking towards fields that will utilize my creative and social skills. I momentarily thought well I could do software development and then just as quickly realized that the field doesn’t give me enough contact with people for me to be satisfied.
I am currently blogging more than ever and working on that memoir I’ve been putting off, which you may get snippets of now and again.
As a woman with fingers and toes in many ponds I want to talk about an important upcoming event called the (Un) Conference and Film Festival put on by Women Who Rock. This group is dedicated to bringing “together musicians, media-makers, performers, artists, scholars and activists to explore the role of women and popular music in the creation of cultural scenes that anchor social justice movements in the Americas.”
This years (Un)Conference will be held March 9th, 2013 at Washington Hall on Yesler and 14th in Seattle, WA.  I will be participating as a speaker with this wonderful organization and presenting on Writing Memoir Through Music. This class will have a two part structure focusing first on how to begin writing your own memoir, filled with examples on how to begin, information on structuring it, and how to create captivating stories. The second half of the seminar will focus on structuring  pieces into musical format. For many writers that are thinking about writing music this can be a very difficult process. Turning a story into song can be full of confusion, frustration, and compromise and so I will be showing women how to make it as a simple and fruitful a process as possible.
I would love to see your face. If you are interested in the seminar but can’t make it that day let me know and I will forward the materials to you the day after the seminar takes place.
My band NighTraiN will also be doing a seminar on starting a band in later life. By later life, we really mean 25 and up. I don’t have any charts or graphs to back this up, but my general belief is that most people don’t pick up new instruments or start playing in bands all that often beyond that age. We want to help women garner enough confidence and knowledge to begin the process of learning an instrument (first or new) and possibly helping them to start new bands. Information from this seminar can’t be sent, but we will be offering this for a small fee after the fact.
            Why is it important to me to participate in a seminar like this? Well… because women are still not well represented in the music industry. But you see lots of girls with guitars you say? Well there are lot of women that love music and want to play it, but generally they are not paid as well as men and primarily remain solo artists. Only about 15% of signed artists are women with men still making the highest figures.
Behind the scenes is almost exclusively male with women accounting for less than 5% of producers, engineers, account execs, etc.
Why aren’t women well represented? Are we just less gifted? Do our voices strain the collective ear? There are plenty of theories of why women fall behind here just like in most other “male” dominated occupations and they are including but not limited to:
  1. Women opt out of music in order to have a more stable life, career, family.
  2. It’s a man’s industry so women stay out due to fear and intimidation.
  3. Women are notoriously underpaid in the music industry.
  4. Women have to ride the fine line of  “grace, charm, and beauty”
  5. History shows that women just aren’t capable of being great
           The list could go on for pages. I’m sure you’ve probably thought of another few myths that consistently keep women out of the industry. Some of these reasons such as number #2 are very visceral as women feel out the industry and realize that they are often flying solo while men take the reigns vs #5 where there is just a general feeling that if it hasn’t been done before than maybe it can’t be done.
            It’s important to discuss how to get into an industry that is in fact male dominated and how to get over these fears and move forward. Women Who Rock is a safe space for women to learn and create. As a musical late bloomer (I started at 28) I know that it can be difficult, but it can be very rewarding. It’s necessary to give women tools and this organization is doing that. If you are a woman that is ready to rock, Register here! 
Also for more contacts with other women in music, check out Women In Music
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