Musicians Gather for First Annual Women’s Music Summit

Musicians Gather for First Annual Women’s Music Summit
Meshell Ndegeocello, Marnie Stern, Melissa Auf der Maur, and Malina Moye attend as featured artist instructors
September 11,2012, Lafayette, CA — Female musicians and songwriters of all ages and skill levels gathered last month in Big Indian, NY for the first ever Women’s Music Summit.
Tucked away in the Catskill Mountains at Full Moon Resort, festivities began over cocktails and an open mic session as the ladies shared the spotlight and instantly connected over music and conversation. With the ice now broken, attendees woke up the next morning to breakfast followed by a songwriting and collaboration workshop led by guitarist Malina Moye and event founder Laura Whitmore. Breaking off into smaller groups, they were offered a challenge: to write and complete a song together before the Summit reaches an end. The first Women’s Music Summit was in full swing.
After putting her guitar talents on show, Moye also shared some industry insider tips and insights. “I had a great time at the first annual Women’s Music Summit. I learned a lot and met a lot of great people and enjoyed the atmosphere of the Full Moon Resort. I’m excited about the next one!” says Moye of the Women’s Music Summit.
Guest speaker and performer Marnie Stern says of the weekend, “It was so inspiring for me to be able to interact with such a talented group of women with such like-minded goals. The collaborations were so fun, and I would love to do it again!”. While Stern shared her guitar tapping technique with the ladies, former Hole and Smashing Pumpkins bassist Melissa Auf der Maur shared tales of her start as a bass player and her experiences on the road. After concluding her Live Performance As Art workshop, MAdM treated her audience to an intimate performance.
A memorable moment for many attendees was the opportunity to showcase their talents at the nightly open mic session. After performing for peers, most sessions ended with an impromptu jam as the ladies melded their talents and styles.
While a main focus of the Summit was songwriting and musicianship, another was the music business itself. Industry panels took place each afternoon where attendees gained valuable insight from women in the industry like Tobi Parks from Sony Music Entertainment, Laura Taylor of Guitar Center, Kirby Desmarais from Everything Independent, Carise Yatter of Hired Gun Media, Jessica Sternick from Red Entertainment, and Kate Pokorny of Indaba Music. Participants were given the opportunity to ask every burning question as topics like PR, promotion, licensing and publishing were discussed.
A highlight of the Summit came with a discussion from bassist Meshell Ndegeocello as she offered insight into her world of music. “I was happy to be there and happy to pass on what I knew”, says Ndegeocello. Later she played with several groups of attendees for a once in a lifetime performance session.
“When many walked away saying the Summit had changed their lives in the most fabulous ways, motivating and enlightening them, I was humbled,” says Summit creator and producer Laura B. Whitmore of Mad Sun Marketing. “Each brought her own contribution”. Whitmore is currently in the planning stages for the 2013 installment of the Women’s Music Summit.
There are a number of sponsors who lent their support and generosity to Women’s Music Summit. Ampeg provided numerous bass and guitar amps for participants to use, while Dean Markley Strings funded several scholarships and sent their Helix strings for everyone to try. Fishman Amplification also funded a scholarship and sent their clip on tuners for all to use. Guitar Center was another generous sponsor, providing backline support as well as gift cards for all attendees. Martin Guitars funded scholarships and sent along picks that came in very handy. Finally, thanks to NewBay Media for their continued media exposure and support.
For more information on the Women’s Music Summit, go to

2 Replies to “Musicians Gather for First Annual Women’s Music Summit”

  1. Sounds like a great idea…but why do we need a specifically “womens” music summit?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not accusing the summit of being sexist! It just seems that it would make more sense to base a musicians summit around a musical concept- genre, instrument, culture etc.- rather than a gender one.

    Do women listen to a specific type of music?

  2. That’s a fair question. As a member of both an all female band and a front-person with an all male band, I can certainly understand why the mentality of music made by musicians, who cares what’s in your pants attitude.
    As an attendee I can tell you and over decade long veteran of the industry I can tell you there are simply differences when women are in music and when men do music. A lot of it is really non sexual but socially based.
    For example, I’ve never been able to have an honest or heartfelt discussion about balancing single motherhood and a full time music career with any man I’ve met in the industry. Yet, surrounded by women, I understood this wasn’t an issue that only effected me. Women think about these things because societal and personal pressures allow us to do so.
    There is also the reality that the business is still, on ground level, very male oriented. Females have more pressure to be pretty and talented, and to shut up and let boys be awesome. Think of how many times someone hears a killer riff and says, “who’s that guy playing?” instead of “who’s that person?”
    Sure, we’re seeing more and more important movers and shakers in the industry be woman led but on the front lines, we’re a minority. We still struggle to be thought of as viable session musicians, producers, engineers, and composers. I know, I’m in it all the time. The point of the summit wasn’t to ostracize men and bring back grrl music power. It was to show support to women of all stages in their music careers who have questions about how to move forward and to illustrate how there IS, in fact, room for us vajammers in the scene.

    Today’s fun fact, less than %5 of music production and recording arts are made up of a female workforce. That’s not our choice.

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