Girls Leadership Academy for Music (GLAM)

Thinking about auditioning as a student conductor, string quartet leader, or a capella music director?  Are you thinking about auditioning for drum major?  Hoping to become part of the your school's Tri-M executive board?  Or maybe you're even thinking about become a music major.  School music programs offer some of the best opportunities for leadership for high school students.  There are so many possibilities, and the Girls Leadership Academy for Music can help you become a more qualified candidate for any of them!

Redefining what it means to be "GLAM"

Final performance

Lauren Estes conducts at the "Women in Song" concert in Setnor Auditorium.  The concert was a tribute to 125 years of women in song at Syracuse University.

Students working on their conducting skills in the music leadership workshop.

Philomena Duffy conducts a trumpet sectional before the Pinstripe Bowl.  The weekend of April 5, 2013 she directed the Sour Sitrus Society at the Final Four in Atlanta.

Girls sing in rehearsal

Pre-concert silliness

Julie conducts at her first rehearsal.

When is it?

The Girls Leadership Academy for Music will take place July 5-July 11, 2015 for residential campers, and July 6-July 10, 2015 for commuters. [The dates on the program inserts were incorrect.]

Who is it for?

GLAM is geared towards girls, ages 15-18, interested in honing their music leadership skills.  Students could be members of their school music leadership organizations (such as choral or instrumental ensemble executive boards, section leaders, Tri-M society, drum majors, etc…) or hoping to/thinking about majoring in music.  (We will accept 14 year old commuter campers only).

What is it?

The Academy is a week-long camp designed to help girls in music develop their leadership skills.  Women have an ever-increasing presence in college, in the workplace, and in leadership positions.  Strong leaders like Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, are calling for more training, mentorship and support for these women to prepare them for emerging possibilities in the workplace. This allows women to make their own opportunities through their own initiative and expertise.  Ms. Sandberg has written the bestseller Lean In to support these efforts.  Music can offer women many opportunities for leadership, however, there aren't always identified pathways to skill development for female leaders.  This was the driving force behind the creation of the Setnor School of Music Community Music Division's Girls Leaderhip Academy for Music (GLAM). 

Leadership skills are developed through a variety of means.  One might learn some tips and discuss necessary skills in a classroom setting.  One might have a knowledgeable and supportive person that can act as a sounding board for ideas and issues concering leadership roles.  One might identify a role model in their industry of choice and watch their career for inspiration.  Or one might be thrown into the deep end and lead a group--having to navigate it on her own.

Through GLAM, all of those paths converge in an intensive and interactive experience.  Each day will include a variety of activities that are set amid three primary facets of the program: workshops, mentorship and guest speakers.  In addition, this year, students will have the opportunity to put those skills to the test through small group rehearsal and coaching.


Workshops will include music, personnel, professional leadership skills and music event planning training.  Through these larger group settings, students will explore topics such as conducting, conflict management, budget management, prioritization, rehearsal techniques, and more.  The workshops explore personal, peer-to-peer, and physical aspects of music leadership.


Each student will be paired with a mentor who is a college-aged woman in a music leadership position within the Setnor School of Music.  Through mentorship, students will have time one-on-one and in small groups to discuss and gain advice about their own unique music leadership situations.  Mentorship simultaneously helps explore the immediate future for female music leaders by pairing them with mentors of a similar age, and addresses personal fears, beliefs and issues that the students may be feeling about their roles as current or future leaders.

Guest Speakers

Guest speakers will be drawn from the professional realm of the arts and will discuss topics such as "what it’s like to be a female leader in the arts," "what its like to work with other artists and non-artists," "what paths these professionals have taken in their own careers," "how leadership training has helped them get to where they are/how it would have been beneficial" and more.  Guest speakers address the journey towards music leadership and career demands of the field.  


GLAM is not a choral camp, or an orchestra camp or a band camp.  We do not require a certain instrumentation to provide this experience for the girls involved.  Instead, smaller chamber groups will be devised from the participants, and each girl will have the opportunity to work with a group as their "teacher" for the week.  Supported by their mentors, the students will rehearse their groups throughout the week in preparation for a final culminating performance.

Why do we need it?

While men and women both have their own unique traits, strengths, personalities and perspectives, there is an apparent sense in some circles--consious or unconscious--that there are many professions for which a woman is simply not suited.  This, among other factors, has led to inequity between females and males in a variety of different fields, including music.  According to a study from 2003 published by Research & Issues in Music Education, fewer than 5% of college band directors are women.  While this number may have increased, it is unlikely that we have achieved an even split in the past 10 years.  We want the girls of the future to be able to work in a world where the words "...for a female in this field" are no longer necessary.  For example, Marin Alsop and Joanne Falleta are largely recognized as noted "female conductors;" rather than as simply outstanding "conductors."  The only way to change the current status is through the training of young women, and the forging and widening of pathways for them to enter the highest tiers of the professional world, which is what we hope to achieve with this program.


  • Commuter - $350.  Costs include all instruction, music arrangements, materials, snacks, and t-shirt.  Does not include lunch.
  • Residential* - $1,100.  Costs include all instruction, music arrangements, materials, snacks, t-shirt, food, and housing.  Does not include bed linens. [*We need at least 8 girls registered for the residential camp by the registration deadline in order to offer this option this year.  If we do not have 8 girls registered for that part of the camp, you will be contacted and offered the opportunity to register as a commuter, or a refund.]

Returning students--please contact me directly for registration information (


Have questions?  Interested in attending?  Email Amy Mertz, Assistant Director for Admissions and Community Programs at