Being a female drummer has been a bit of a breakthrough for me.
In my lifetime, the majority of drummers, I encountered or admired, were always male. For a long time, I never even considered playing the drums as it all looked inaccessible and complicated. I knew very little about drumming but in my mind, it was all about speed, stamina, technicality and power and appeared to be a world that was all too male. Taking drum lessons was like a personal bet with myself and it took years for me to take that step. While I was growing up it had become clear to me that as a girl I had limitations, they were things that simply I could or couldn't do.
Once I took the first step, I discovered a whole new female aspect to drumming, a whole new world of rhythm and music as well as like-minded individuals that were brought together by a love of music. I discovered that many female drummers are working professionally behind the scenes, perhaps not as celebrated as their male counterparts, but just as skilled and accomplished. I also discovered that there was a dedicated magazine for female drummers, Tom Tom Magazine. A magazine that in my opinion has got it right, striking a balance between the consideration of gender and a pure interest in the drumming world. There is even a contest for female drummers, Hit like a girl, (currently only in the USA) celebrating both drumming and womanhood.
Hitting like a girl is not that bad after all. Additionally, female drummers have much more visibility these days, with more women in bands and women drummers taking centre stage at established drumming events like the London Drum Show that last year included performances by Anika Nilles.
While in the past female drummers were a rarity, an exception that confirmed the rule of a male-dominated drumming world, this is not true today with many women taking over the drums and showcasing their chops. Drumming is now considered an instrument for both boys and girls. For example, at Planet drum about half of the students are female, both children and adults, and to further encourage and support our students we have a female drummers group. The group aims to organise socialising events and opportunities to meet, go to concerts and talk drums. The aim is to take the group outside Planet drum reach out to other drummers and students, and offer support and encouragement. There is still more to do in celebrating female drumming and promoting further educational activities, information and performance excellence.