Some David Bowie Wisdom and the Diving Women of Jeju Do

With a level of excitement and trepidation, 12 women come together in January to learn guitar & bass together. This virtual class fostered a sense of belonging and connection the participants had sorely been lacking in their post-pandemic lives.

Our new virtual Lady Rockstars class (called Electric Lady) created a safe space where women can meet weekly to connect, learn & write songs, talk music, and learn the deeper meaning behind lyrics.

Some of these folks had already participated in my live Lady Rockstars classes (created in 2014 after a particularly inspiring week at Girls Rock Charlotte’s first summer camp for girls and gender diverse youth). The Lady Rockstars classes were 4 weeks of band building, connection activities, and song learning; which all culminated in an open mic night that inspired anyone who witnessed it.

When you put a group of women together, you can accomplish ANYTHING. This feeling and sentiment of “catty” behavior among women, simply does not happen in this environment. Women rally to support one another as they all step out of their comfort zones to do something really rad for themselves.

One of my favorite quotes is by none other than the iconic and timeless queer rock god, David Bowie.

“Always go a little further into the water than you feel you're capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don't feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you're just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

I knew I was onto something when I set out to create the same warm and supportive community in a virtual way. It felt scary not knowing how I was going to pull this off. You can’t play live music together on Zoom because of the internet lag. Timing is impossible. Yet I had to figure this out. Not having these women in my life in 2020 left a huge hole in my spirit. Honestly, I do these classes for me just as much as them. I am, without fail, continually inspired by their support, thoughtful conversation, and never-ending bravery to do something completely uncomfortable while turning strangers into friends and allies.

In true Krystle Baller style I used my Graphic Design background to curate a really beautiful guitar and bass workbook for the students. I also tapped into my spiritual witchiness and pulled everyone an oracle card to set the tone for their month. I’m glad these practices are more widely accepted now, because the cards always deliver a thoughtful message and reassurance to folks who often need to hear it.

Throughout the class we dug into the meaning behind the song we were learning, “Diving Woman” by Japanese Breakfast. This song is about the Haenyo, diving women who make their living diving for food. They live on a small island off of the coast of Korea and dive well into their 90s. These women are inspiring, creating their own independence with hard work and training. The way they come together to support each other is beautiful and aligns with the same sentiment as Lady Rockstars.

It’s always interesting to see what inspires a song. Dissecting lyrics and creating curriculum from them has turned into a weird obsession. It’s a really fun way to get inspired by artists.

I have been deepening my own guitar practice throughout 2020 and have a deeper understanding of the way music works. This has allowed me to break some basic concepts down and teach some quick paths to songwriting using small moveable chord shapes. We also did some great activities to get words flowing and the womxn messing with lyrics.

Some of the students in our class wrote songs, others started writing lyrics and journaling again. It was obvious that something in this program broke a dam in their creative writing process and inspired them to grab their guitars and basses and put pen to paper.

I’m so very grateful for the opportunity to teach women and non-binary folks. If being a part of this community speaks to you, step into the water with us and let’s play some music in February! The next class starts Tuesday, February 2nd. Registration Closes on January 31st. It’s sliding scale pricing. I hope you’ll join us or share our name with someone who might!

Sign up here

Thanks and Rock On,

Krystle Baller

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