U-M piano student launches nonprofit “Girls Rock Detroit”

Melissa Coppola, a U-M student in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, is using rock ‘n’ roll as a way to empower young girls.

Coppola launched Girls Rock Detroit in 2014. The non-profit provides girls ages 8-14 an opportunity to participate in a summer camp focused on music education and performance.

During the week-long camp, the girls receive instrument lessons, form bands, write original songs, and then perform their songs on the stage of a Detroit music venue.

“By empowering girls with music education they can learn to express themselves in alternative ways,” said Coppola. “Most girls don’t have access to an instrument. In fact, in rock music, a lot of girls aren’t encouraged to pick up a rock instrument. It’s really more of a boy thing a lot of the times. So we like to put instruments in their hands and we say ‘you can do it.’”

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