Modesto, CA (August 10, 2016)—SoundGirls was founded a few years ago with the aim of encouraging young women to explore their interests in live sound. This summer, the organization held a number of summer camps around the country to share its message and knowledge, and Mackie helped make that happen.
Every summer, SoundGirls sponsors a series of summer camps across the US, teaching groups of teenagers what it's like to mix a live show. "We start them out with the basics, from winding cables to signal flow," explains SoundGirls co-director Tiffany Hendren. "They learn how to set up a PA, how to choose their mics, do a stage chart, and at the end of the week, they run a live show."
"For a lot of them, it's really the first exposure they have to the concept of being a live sound engineer," said SoundGirls president and co-founder Karrie Keyes. "When you're in school and you're looking at careers, nobody's going to really present the idea of being a live sound engineer—and particularly not to young girls."
With only a few days to go from the basics to a live show, SoundGirls uses equipment that's easy to understand and easy to operate. A pair of SRM450 loudspeakers makes quick work of the PA setup. "The SRM monitors are great," said Hendren. "They're easy to set up, and light enough that two 13-year-olds can assemble this PA in just a few minutes. And they're loud enough to give them a feeling of what it's like to mix a live rock band."
When it comes to teaching signal flow, analog is the way to go, several Mackie ProFX8v2 mixers are used as a visual and tactile teaching tool. "We found, especially with this age group, a diagram or a flow chart isn't going to click for anybody," mused Keyes. Once they've mastered the basics, the campers move on to mixing FOH and monitors with the Mackie DL32R mixer via the Master Fader app. "For this generation, mixing on an iPad is such a natural concept," said Keyes.
After four days of preparation, including live sound checks for a variety of local artists, the SoundGirls campers convene in a local venue to celebrate a triumphant week. As Hendren points out, the experience not only empowers them as young women, it gets them thinking outside the traditional career box. "We hope, and I think they do, come away from camp thinking, 'that was cool, what else can I do?'"
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