Girls Rock, Literally

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Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

I'm a HUGE fan of rock music — hard rock, indie-rock, blues-rock, rock & roll, you name it. I mean, who can resist the guitar stylings of Eric Clapton from his days in Cream, or the powerhouse combination of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards? Anytime I flip on ZZ Top's "La Grange" or hear "Baba O'Riley" by The Who, I feel like I can conquer the world. The only downside is that there are very few women in high profile rock bands. Rolling Stone's 2003 list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" included only two women: Joni Mitchell and Joan Jett.* Thankfully, that picture appears to be changing. There's a music camp in Portland, Oregon called Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls where girls age 8 to 18 can spend a week at a time learning how to play electric guitars, bang drums, and write lyrics. Filmmakers Arne Johnson and Shane King spent a week trailing some of the girls, and chronicled their experiences in a documentary called Girls Rock. We'll have the director and one of the stars from the film on the show today. And we want to hear from girls that rock, literally. Tell us your stories here.

* Here's a supplementary list of the greatest female guitarists of all time.



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As a dutiful grandma I was talking with my 5 year old granddaughter about the importance of kindergarten, then elem, then HS, College and then maybe she'd be a doctor - her reply, Grandma I'm going to college but I'm going to be a Superstar - she's definitely a candidate for Rock and Roll Camp.

Sent by Marty | 3:45 PM | 3-13-2008

hi, my name is kate obrien-clarke. i love in portland, or. i play violin, cello and viola in rock bands on stage, on tour and on recordings.
i'd like to encourage kids who play "classical" instruments to keep with it and know there are other avenues to follow aside from orchestras and symphonies. (think Dirty Three, Mahavishnu Orchestra) i teach this to my private students as well. does the rock-n-roll camp have room for instruments more commonly found in a symphony or orchestra?

Sent by kate o'brien-clarke | 3:51 PM | 3-13-2008

We live in Portland, OR. My daughter is only 7 right now. There is so much excitement for this camp. She asked for a guitar for Christmas, and has been taking lessons from another instructor so she will be ready for Rock and Roll Girls camp next year when she is 8.

My daughter and some of her friends have lots of energy. Friends (that are 8 years old) that have attended the camp have not felt that the child's inability to "sit still" has been a hinderance to participating in the music. This is very important because more classical music lessons have not worked out for us because my daughter has a very hard time sitting still for long.

Sent by Angie | 3:52 PM | 3-13-2008

Like 8 year olds understand the consequences of signing Kyoto. Brainwashed.

Sent by Frued Cold | 4:54 PM | 3-13-2008

So glad to see NPR picked up this awesome project!

In the 'Talk of the Nation' interview, the film directors mention a Rock 'N' Roll Camp for Girls book coming out soon, written by the camp.

You can pre-order it now at:

Thanks to everyone for supporting the camp, movie, and book - it's been such an inspiring project to be part of!

Sent by Lisa Anne from Chronicle Books | 9:39 PM | 3-13-2008

I listened to the NPR Talk of the Nation segment as well as watched the trailer.

And nowhere was there any mention of whether these kids have any actual musical ability!

No one should want to be in a band in order to gain self esteem. You should want to be in a band because you have musical interest and an aptitude for it.

Sent by Mo | 4:26 PM | 3-14-2008

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