The Importance of a Female-Supporting Community

Hear from Vida, former student and current studio technician, about the group she helped to found in 2017: Females of dBs.

This is a group of current and alumni female students at dBs Berlin [now Catalyst]. The purpose of the group is to create a space specifically for the female students within the school, and also externally in the local arts scene. By getting us all together we can better support each other and make everyone visible and familiar. Once a month, I (Vida – studio technician and former diploma student) host a listening session for all of us to share our music and thoughts.

 Last year one of our team, Hannah, cooperated with Lena from female:pressure to start the dBs Dialogues [now Catalyst Dialogues] series. The Dialogues series aims to provide a safe space for students to discuss issues they face or perceive in the industry. Each event features a musician or artist in a panel with students and explores different perspectives. For this inaugural series, we focused on why there are so few women studying music production. The sessions got very popular and everyone could feel a feministic breeze going through the community. These conversations shed light on some of the inequalities in the music scene while also creating a meeting point for people who felt passionate about these issues.

The only girl in class

This topic is close to my heart because when I studied at dBs Berlin [now Catalyst], I was the only girl in my class. It was easy for me to relate my experiences to the girls who joined us because the gender ratio is slow to change. When I finished my course and began working at the school as a studio technician, the dBs Dialogues [now Catalyst Dialogues] inspired me to take action. One night during my shift, I spontaneously went into the studio with two girls and we shared our music with each other. We immediately noticed that it sparked a lot of inspiration for us. This became the moment when we decided to continue sharing our music on a more regular basis.

 At the start of 2016, I met up with two students/alumni Hanna and Sarah, and together we created Females of dBs. Our first listening session took place in February 2016 and since then, we’ve had regular sessions happening once a month. The attendance varies a lot depending on school work. But regardless of how many of us are there, the feeling of support it gives to the girls is the real purpose.

These sessions are a great way to combine creative discussion in a casual meet-up. Everyone is welcome to share their work and ask for feedback. Or they can just come by and listen, get some inspiration and hang out. We want to strengthen the bonds between the females in the school and boost their confidence and visibility. With groups like this we can discuss and share our experiences to create a community for people to safely grow within.

A school as a role model

Our school reflects the music industry in the respect that the men outnumber the women. In my own experience, this dynamic sets up an additional challenge to sharing and improving upon your work – which is already a task loaded with vulnerability! So we, being adaptable, take this as an opportunity to be stronger. Every individual has unique potential for expression and it’s in our interest to create networks that embolden us to share our voices. I think the female listening sessions set a positive example of uniting and growing together, and at the very least I hope that they make a difference for the girls currently studying with us.

 Music is about community and it’s really hard to keep up passion without compassion. I’ve recently come to realise how important it is for producers to have a group with whom they can share their work. Modern music trends push producers to become lone wolves and survive on their own; producing in their bedroom and sharing work via online platforms. But this future removes us from one of the biggest joys of music, which is the communal feeling it gives you. That is why today, communities have become more important. If these communities also make their members feel like they are there for a ”specific purpose”, then they give us an even stronger feeling of being part of something.

Please enjoy a playlist I assembled (above) of some tracks from females from dBs Berlin [now Catalyst].

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