This summer, middle and high school aged girls have the opportunity to get hands-on training with professional audio gear at the SoundGirls.org Live Sound Camps. Audio specialist Sennheiser has joined in sponsoring these unique learning opportunities by providing 20 each of its professional HD 280 headphones and evolution series microphones for use during the workshops. Held four times over the summer in cities throughout the U.S., the Live Sound Camps provide an opportunity for girls to learn the basics of live audio from top professionals in the industry, covering topics from signal flow to microphone setup and mixing.
SoundGirls.org began three years ago following a panel hosted by Women's Audio Mission and Terri Winston at AES 2012 that acquainted some of the leading women in audio with one another, among them Karrie Keyes — known in the industry as the long-time monitor engineer for Pearl Jam. She and prominent front of house engineer Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato, whose credits include Gwen Stefani, Jewel, and Ke$ha, founded SoundGirls.org to provide a way for women in audio to network, share ideas, and provide support.
Keyes says the camps help present opportunities for girls within the audio industry at an early age. “When I was young and interested in doing something in music, I didn’t have any support or guidance at school,” Keyes says. “I found it very much by accident. But having the kind of experience we’re able to provide at the SoundGirls.org camps gives girls a chance to experience some of the opportunities that exist in the sound world well beyond what they might be exposed to in school. ”
Keyes and her instructors believe having access to the best professional audio gear is a key part of the experience for the campers. “I have used Sennheiser microphones and wireless gear with Pearl Jam for years, so by using Sennheiser equipment for the camps I knew we were giving our campers a true taste of pro gear.”
The first of this year’s five-day camps took place in Modesto, California on June 20th, followed by Nevada City, California, Wilmington, Delaware, and St. Louis, Missouri. The curriculum begins with a look at audio safety before campers progress to learning the elements of a console, microphone placement, stage plots, and input lists. “Each afternoon we have local youth bands coming in and we let the girls set them up with the gear, so it’s really hands-on.” The Sennheiser e835 microphone will serve as the perfect choice for vocal micking, offering consistent on and off-axis performance thanks to its uniform frequency pick-up pattern and minimal proximity effect. The HD 280 Pro headphones provide the perfect tool for honing in on the right sound for the mix, boasting excellent sound quality backed by strong isolation from external noise. “It’s exciting for them to get to use the pro-level gear, and they pick it up incredibly quickly,” Keyes says.
The week culminates in a full live show that the campers run on their own, featuring some the week’s locally sourced talent. “It’s always really inspiring to see how much knowledge they’ve retained from the week,” says Keyes. “In particular I love to see them hit a snag and then figure out the solution on their own using what they’ve learned.”
The support of Sennheiser is a key to help Keyes and her colleagues further the overall mission of SoundGirls.org. “We have been lucky at SoundGirls.org to be able to create a support network for women working in audio at all levels that has been going strong for three years,” she says. “Now in our second year of running camps for girls, we are excited to open up a world of possibilities for the next generation of women in audio, and we couldn’t do it without the help of sponsors like Sennheiser.”
Audio specialist Sennheiser is one of the world's leading manufacturers of headphones, microphones and wireless transmission systems. Based in Wedemark near Hanover, Germany, Sennheiser operates its own production facilities in Germany, Ireland and the USA and is active in more than 50 countries. With 19 sales subsidiaries and long-established trading partners, the company supplies innovative products and cutting-edge audio solutions that are optimally tailored to its customers' needs. Sennheiser is a family owned company that was founded in 1945 and which today has 2,750 employees around the world that share a passion for audio technology. Since 2013, Sennheiser has been managed by Daniel Sennheiser and Dr. Andreas Sennheiser, the third generation of the family to run the company. In 2015, the Sennheiser Group had sales totaling €682 million. www.sennheiser.com