By SAE AucklandSAE Auckland
SAE Creative Media Institute (SAE) was proud to host Girls Rock! Aotearoa’s To the Front event at the Auckland-based campus last week. Girls Rock! Aotearoa has been inspiring women, trans, takatāpui intersex, and gender-diverse youth form bands, build instrument skills, and write original songs since 2018. To The Front is a week-long event that offers a series of music-related workshops culminating in a public gig at Tuning Fork.
There were over 40 participants this year with a range of mentors supporting them. Throughout the week a number of guests including kiwi artist Georgia Lines and DJ extraordinaire, half.queen, visited to inspire the next generation of creatives.
SAE Auckland’s Campus Director Dr. Suzette Major says “aligning SAE with Girls Rock is the perfect fit! We are committed to changing the face of the music and audio industry and bringing more women and non-binary folk into what is currently an industry of gender disparity”.
The Audio Engineering Society’s recent report states that women make up just 5 to 7% of audio engineers and producers. Closer to home, a recent gender diversity study looking across APRA AMCOS NZ members indicated that 15% of audio engineers identify as women or gender diverse and 23% of music producers. “While NZ looks better than the global numbers”, explains Suzette, “it’s still too low. What To the Front aims to do is help show that music production and audio engineering are viable career options.”
SAE’s Head of Audio, Lora Thompson, a passionate advocate of women and non-binary in the music industry, echoes this sentiment. “Changing the gender makeup of our audio and music industries will also make it a safer place and help ensure that women and non-binary are not disadvantaged or discriminated against,”. Both Girls Rock! Aotearoa and SAE, as well as any educators in this space, have a responsibility to help address the gender imbalance.
SAE Auckland offers Diplomas and Degrees in Music Production and Audio Production, as well as Screen Production. After attending To the Front, participants are often inspired to enroll in one of the formal qualifications. SAE graduate and To the Front mentor, Ciara Bernstein explains, “I started in the deep end. We used to have house parties at our house. We’d have just vocals going through a guitar amp, then one day we got a mixer and some speakers and It just built and grew. Eventually, I ended up studying at SAE, and all my formal knowledge now comes from there. Learning how to use a DAW and make things sound bigger and better was all SAE. I highly recommend SAE for someone looking for something to do after school”.
To the Front Tāmaki Makaurau is held at SAE in January on an annual basis. “We look forward to having them with us again next year!” says Dr. Suzette Major.