Amplifying the voices of female, trans and gender diverse youth through music education and positive mentorship.
Our core values
Gender inequality is a pervasive issue within the music industry, with research reports such as the “Skipping a Beat” (University of Sydney) and “By the Numbers” (triple j’s Hack) identifying the many ways in which men are at an advantage over any other group. Girls Rock! Melbourne works to address this inequality by inspiring and nurturing a love of music in young female, trans, and gender diverse people.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
The transformative and therapeutic nature of music influences our work to increase self-esteem, self-worth and confidence in our participants. Positive mentors guide young people through the creative song writing process, instilling the sense that mistakes are healthy and that music is a vehicle to express and process thoughts and feelings in a constructive way. Girls Rock! Melbourne also works to create “safe spaces” in which everyone feels accepted and encouraged to be their authentic selves, without the threat of bullying or exclusion. This sense of community support is essential for adolescent mental health.
Girls Rock! Melbourne empowers female, trans and gender diverse youth to become confident in their musical abilities and creative self-expression. Research shows that the music scene disadvantages and ignores FTGD voices. GR!M amplifies these voices through by encouraging and supporting social activism, skills building and self-awareness.
Through our camps and workshops, we will continue to build a supportive community connecting participants, musicians, mentors, artists, venue bookers, sound engineers, community radio and volunteers. We are a networked community who support and promote each other’s music; share our considerable skills and expertise; and offer opportunities for music performance and recording. We strongly believe in passing on the baton and are committed to creating career pathways and ongoing opportunities for our participants, interns and volunteers.
We believe you have to “See it to be it” and require all our mentors, organisers, band coaches, instrument instructors and workshop facilitators to be female, trans or gender diverse. We remove barriers to participation through financial aid, scholarship places and payment plans as well as providing all instruments and accommodating additional accessibility requests when possible. Our program teaches a DIY approach to music creation and tackles issues such as sexism in the media, body positivity and self-care. We have a critical analysis and social justice approach to issues, and we strongly emphasise self-care, well-being and inclusivity, as well as celebrating diversity. Girls Rock! Melbourne builds the self esteem of female, trans, and gender diverse (FTGD) youth through music creation and performance. Providing workshops and technical training, we create leadership opportunities, cultivate a supportive community of peers and mentors, develop life skills, and encourage social change.
Read our non-discrimination policy.
The first Girls Rock! camp was founded in Portland in 2001 as a summer day camp. In 2003, the organisation moved into its own space in NE Portland and, in an effort to further fulfil its mission, launched the Girls Rock Institute, a year-round after-school program providing more opportunities for girls to get involved.
Girls Rock! The Movie, a documentary following four girls through their experiences at the 2005 Summer Camp, was released nationally in the US in 2008. Also in 2008, Chronicle Books published the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls book.
The Girls Rock Camp Alliance, founded in 2007, provides a network connecting all the Girls Rock camps. Did you know there are over eighty similar Girls Rock camps from here to Sweden? The affiliates share the same mission, and each year, representatives attend the GRCA conference to partake in workshops, skill share, and envision the future of the Girls Rock Camp movement!
Girls Rock! Australia (GR!A) was established in 2015 in Canberra by Chiara Grassia as a national network of Australian "Girls Rock!" camps, and was the location of the first camp in Australia. Girls Rock! Melbourne is a branch of GR!A and was founded in October 2015 by Sally Balhorn and Shannon Driscoll. Our first meeting was in November 2015 where a group of fantastic individuals joined us, many of whom continue to work with us today.
Our mission is to empower girls, women, trans, and gender diverse people by building self esteem and confidence. We aim to amplify voices through music education, workshops, and performances. GR!M is built on principles of access and equity, social action, empowerment and community spirit. By providing a positive, female/trans/non-binary-lead environment that offers musical instruction as well as a variety of workshops and performances, this program creates leadership opportunities, cultivates a supportive community of peers and mentors, and encourages social change and the development of life skills.
Why a rock camp for female/trans/gender diverse youth?
We want to eradicate all of the limiting myths about music and gender which make FTGD people afraid to speak up, sing out, and make noise! We seek to demonstrate through lessons, mentorship, positive examples, and the experiences of the staff and volunteers, that every genre of music, technical job, and creative endeavour in the music industry is available to any person who wants to explore them.
Rock Camp provides a wide variety of useful tools: amplifiers, distortion pedals, drum lessons, PA systems, self-defence classes, band coaches, zine workshops, mentorship, and true belief in participants' abilities. We believe these help young people develop—musically, mentally, and emotionally—their own ideas of who and what they want to be. Rock Camp is about more than music!
Girls Rock! Melbourne runs several programs throughout the year for both youth and adults, and are expanding our offerings all the time.