Tonic participant and volunteer Sarah reminisces about the Girls to the Front workshops.
These workshops were for women with experience of mental health difficulties. They were designed and facilitated by women, for women.
Sarah (left) and El Morgan
I will never forget the Girls to the Front course of music workshops. They took place at Southsea Sound on Albert Road, and were facilitated by the brilliant El Morgan. Southsea Sound is a recording studio and rehearsal space full of equipment and instruments, so there was everything we could have possibly needed under one roof.
The workshops were for women only and were very much themed on celebrating women within the music industry. El set the challenge of learning, and ultimately performing, Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones.
Initially it felt somewhat of an impossibility, as my fellow participants and I had no any experience. However, El was encouraging and had faith in all of us. Over the coming weeks we all tried guitar, bass and drums. El was a patient teacher and broke the track down so we could conquer it in manageable segments.
As well as the music tuition, we were treated to talks given by women working in the industry – one a sound engineer and another a drummer in a band. Both were fascinating and gave a real insight into what goes on behind the scenes.
We all really enjoyed learning our instruments and I discovered how much fun banging on the drums could be. In the final week we all came together and performed the track, with a lot of pride and laughter. I can honestly say it sounded pretty good and all the work and effort had paid off.
These workshops are valuable to so many people and Tonic does an amazing job organising them.
It makes me so proud to be a part of Tonic when I see what a genuine difference these events can make.