Let the girls rock out

Jessica Hopper knows rock and she’s on a mission to make the road she traveled-over a young lifetime of living her passion-less rocky for girls lured by the music.

She does it in a tidy package, The Girls’ Guide to Rocking, a hip how-to guide that covers everything from writing the songs, starting a band, picking the right equipment and booking a gig.

“I just really wanted something that would empower and encourage young girls to make music of their own. I wanted to make a book that had a sense of permission, but also the tools so that nothing stands in their way,” says Hopper, of Chicago.

She’s seeing the tide turning in the number of girls taking center stage.

“I’m looking forward to knowing that we have a generation of young women who are putting their angst and their dreams out there and putting that to music. I think that’s just pretty much the coolest thing.”

Hopper’s tips for getting started:

Start today with whatever instrument you have. If you are already playing viola, play that. Chamber instruments can rock just as much as drums, she says.

Ignore anyone who doubts your ability to start a rock band.

Create and practice a 15- to 20-minute set. “There’s always somebody who has a basement and cool parents.”

Get your first gig or put on your own show. Court your friends who have birthdays coming up, play a show on the street corner in front of your house or if there is a gazebo in the nearby park, text all your friends to come hear you play. Find out about open mic nights such as the one held monthly at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Remember to have fun and put friendships first.

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