My experience of music has made me feel every emotion from anger to happiness and brought back memories taking me back to reliving a certain time and place. So why have I felt that I could never really be part of the music industry?
I’m not a musician or into tech stuff etc, but I am a music lover and love nothing more than live music. When I was younger I always felt on the outskirts, I felt that as a woman I couldn’t ask questions about technology or sound or what instrument made what sound. Now this might have just been my teenage issues but I always felt I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a woman. What would I know? As I got older I organised a few gigs mainly as fundraisers still feeling like it couldn’t/wouldn’t be taken seriously. While organising these gigs I have had contact with sound folks and dealings with venue hire, back lines etc. I don’t have a vast knowledge But I feel it’s important that if you are part of the music scene that you should understand how it all works, mainly to protect yourself and make sure you are in control and what better way to gain that knowledge than having people who are willing to talk about all aspects of the industry. From sound and lighting to tuning the instruments to bursting a string and just to keep going.
When I was putting gigs on years ago, I felt I wasn’t taken seriously, and at times it was clear I had to push more than my male counterparts. I have had experiences of being told a higher price for venue hire than my partner who phoned for a quote the same day to being told to “just sit over there and let the boys deal with it”. This is changing and for the better but still we need more accessibility for all children and until there is a fair representation of both the sexes the next generation will still have to fight.
I am also a mother to 3 daughters who also love music,play in bands and love to perform. I have tried to encourage my girls to take charge of their music. I’m a firm believer in D.I.Y., a belief that has come from seeing so many performers screwed over, especially females. I want my girls to feel empowered and understand that there are no gender roles in music.
My girls took part in the girls rock school this year and last. I wanted them to do it because I felt they would learn all aspects of the industry. This was the first time my girls seen women doing sound etc. and it made them look at other factors in music they didn’t know before. It made them think of other options they didn’t even know existed
In my opinion there is still a hidden disparity in the performing arts. Once it was boys do woodwork and girls do cooking. Girls are the pretty performers and the boys are the methodical technical minded ones causing the huge gulf. Having more awareness of the technology in school would empower all young artists and could only be a good thing for us all. Music is meant to be universal and transcend borders, so why can’t it transcend gender? I feel early socialisation still plays a part in this. I still feel that girls are pushed into being the entertainer. Often being given a song or asked to perform a piece not of their choice but by being moulded into something that is aesthetically pleasing and produced in a way to make money.
Music is such a huge part of our lives we hear it in places we don’t even realise. from football chants and protest songs to adverts and video games. Girls can be part of this and we need to show them that their contribution is vital and needed. They have to learn that this is an option from a young age to make it accessible and hopefully encourage females to choose a career path in sound and music if they do so wish with no barriers.
For these reasons we need to see people from all genders, classes and cultures working in the industry and working to empower all children. Let’s not tell anybody to “just leave it to somebody else” lets show children that they can do anything and never to sit on the side scared to ask questions but to then say “show me how”.