Girls Rock Philly, an all-girl music camp, uses the rock ‘n’ roll attitude to inspire confidence among women.
Before sophomore communications major Maura Filoromo attended Girls Rock Philly summer camp, she never thought she could write a song.
“Anything I did write was just stupid in my mind,” Filoromo said.
But, after camp, Filomoro said she felt inspired to write and was more secure in her abilities.
“It really boosted my self-confidence,” she said. “I definitely was empowered.”
As a local nonprofit, GRP aims to do just that. The organization, which offers the only ladies rock camp in the city for females ages 8 and older, aims to provide women from the greater Philadelphia region a positive, all-female musical environment.
Director of GRP Beth Warshaw-Duncan said the genre is a fun and easy way for women to express themselves.
“The girls write their own original music in their bands, and we encourage them to create whatever sounds they like, but rock music is a great base for teaching music in a week.” Warshaw- Duncan said. “It’s usually fairly simple – mistakes are much more fun to make than in more technique-focused genres of music, and it’s loud.”
“Being loud is a choice that comes with a lot of power and turning yourself up to be heard and not being deterred by the fear of getting a note wrong is incredibly confidence-building,” Warshaw-Duncan added.
Girls are encouraged to be themselves without worrying about judgments of talent or specific standards. Beginners, intermediates and experts are paired together to make music and learn with one another.
“Campers are taught guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals, DJing and drums in the morning,” Warshaw-Duncan said. “They are also put into bands in the afternoon, and they write at least one original song by the showcase on Saturday and studio recording on Sunday.”
Some campers value the experience so much that they remain involved in the program even after they finish camp. Filoromo attended GRP’s first camp in 2007, when she was 16 years old.
Today, Filoromo is a GRP volunteer and a member of indie-pop band Oak Oak Okay, which she helped form in 2007.
“My dream was, and still is, to be in a band that tours the world,” Filoromo said.
“Now, as a volunteer, it is cool to watch the excitement of the girls because I know how they feel,” she added.
Besides music camps and classes, GRP offers workshops about image and identity, self-defense and more. All the workshops tie into the recurring theme of being loud and becoming independent through skill sharing.
This organization’s growth has allowed women like Filoromo to embark on their rock ‘n’ roll dreams and help lead them to discover they are capable of standing on stage, writing original lyrics and having fun performing.
“Never before camp would I have been able to stand on a stage singing and playing my own original material,” Filoromo said. “I have been so fortunate with all the opportunities Girls Rock has brought me.”
Alexandra Olivier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.