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Thread: No Testosterone a Liability For Girl Drummers?

  1. #1

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    Default No Testosterone a Liability For Girl Drummers?

    I'm not looking for any politically correct responses to this question, if you don't mind. I won't be offended by any answer; I just want honest opinions from drummers. I want to know what you drummers think about the lack of physical strength and stamina that women often bring to drumming. Please don't reply with something like, "Women can build these up just as men can", if you follow me. I know who the top female drummers are and what they do. I'd like to know if you think that most women drummers, in general, are coming in with a liability. If so, can this liability be overcome by the kit being properly mic-ed up - all other factors being equal? I notice kits at local venues/clubs to be woefully and improperly mic-ed up. This issue could be getting into some socialization issues and provoke the age old question of why rock music is traditionally dominated by men, I realize.

    I don't want to be a "cute" boom-chicky-boom drummer. I want to wail like the big boys presuming I have the chops in me. I'm not asking here "how to do that", but rather do you think that there is something to the idea that a woman is handicapped behind the kit at the get-go. I've read other threads on this site about this, but I'm not seeing quite my question. How physically strong will I need to be to be a really good drummer? Not asking how to get strong, but "how strong" does a good drummer need to be?

    I really appreciate how the people on this site really put time into being helpful and thoughtful. It's really nice, so thanks all of you for that.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: No Testosterone a Liability For Girl Drummers?

    All it takes is a look at Cindy Blackman's drumming (insert any respected, successful female drummer here) to realize that women can excel at drumming. Now that you see their example before you, never again give any thought to what you asked. Simply move on and forget about it.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by drummer View Post
    All it takes is a look at Cindy Blackman's drumming (input any respected, successful female drummer here) to realize that women can accell at drumming. Now that you see their example before you, never again give any thought to what you asked. Simply move on and forget about it.
    Awesome! Thanks for that!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by wailgirl View Post
    I'm not looking for any politically correct responses to this question, if you don't mind.
    Don't worry, one thing I've never been known to be is politically correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by wailgirl View Post
    I don't want to be a "cute" boom-chicky-boom drummer. I want to wail like the big boys presuming I have the chops in me.
    You're killin me with the "boom-chicky-boom" part.

    Proper micing can help any drummer sound better (or worse, since every stroke will be heard), and so can properly tuned drums and better equipment. But it basically all comes down to you, the drummer. If you've got a strong sense of tempo you can play with anyone. Ringo Starr was not the most inventive drummer in the world, yet he is highly respected for his nearly perfect tempo.

    I guess that's my way of saying that I don't think being physically strong is the only thing that's important. Stamina is certainly important, but that's something that I think improves the more you play. I'm sure you've seen some pretty darn wimpy looking guys who can play the heck out of their kit, right? It's in the hands and wrists. You don't have to have 18" biceps.

    If you're thinking that maybe you can't hit the drums as hard as a man, I might agree with you somewhat on that point. But if your band is drowning you out, then you either need to be miked, or they need to turn down their volume. A good band has a good mix, so that all the instruments can be heard equally clearly.

    Some people are naturally hard hitters, and some are naturally soft hitters. I know guys far smaller than me who just beat the snot out of their drums. I don't find that necessary. If that's their natural style, fine, but the truly skilled drummer IMHO is the one who can adjust their own volume to their circumstances.

    As to whether there are actual physical restrictions that would prevent you from playing as well as a man, I don't think so. But then again I'm not a doctor, though I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express once. (yeah, I loved those commercials).
    ****************************************
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norske View Post
    Don't worry, one thing I've never been known to be is politically correct. Really helpful. I feel very encouraged by your reply. I have always kind of laughed at Ringo Starr, but he is listed as a favorite by many. The tempo thing - I've definitely got that going for me. Thanks.



    You're killin me with the "boom-chicky-boom" part.

    Proper micing can help any drummer sound better (or worse, since every stroke will be heard), and so can properly tuned drums and better equipment. But it basically all comes down to you, the drummer. If you've got a strong sense of tempo you can play with anyone. Ringo Starr was not the most inventive drummer in the world, yet he is highly respected for his nearly perfect tempo.

    I guess that's my way of saying that I don't think being physically strong is the only thing that's important. Stamina is certainly important, but that's something that I think improves the more you play. I'm sure you've seen some pretty darn wimpy looking guys who can play the heck out of their kit, right? It's in the hands and wrists. You don't have to have 18" biceps.

    If you're thinking that maybe you can't hit the drums as hard as a man, I might agree with you somewhat on that point. But if your band is drowning you out, then you either need to be miked, or they need to turn down their volume. A good band has a good mix, so that all the instruments can be heard equally clearly.

    Some people are naturally hard hitters, and some are naturally soft hitters. I know guys far smaller than me who just beat the snot out of their drums. I don't find that necessary. If that's their natural style, fine, but the truly skilled drummer IMHO is the one who can adjust their own volume to their circumstances.

    As to whether there are actual physical restrictions that would prevent you from playing as well as a man, I don't think so. But then again I'm not a doctor, though I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express once. (yeah, I loved those commercials).
    Really helpful. I feel very encouraged by your reply. I have always kind of laughed at Ringo Starr which is naive, as he is listed as a favorite by many. The tempo thing - I've definitely got that going for me. Thanks.

  6. #6

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    There are women out there that have the same kind of attack that men have, but few of them are drummers. Take a look at how women who are Classical musicians go after a passionate, angst filled movement. These aren't whimpy musicians. They play physically. When the mood calls for a pouncing, they come off the top turnbuckle. Be like these musicians. Just because there aren't nearly as many great women drummers as men, doesn't mean you have to buy into that limitation, whether there really is one or not.

  7. #7

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    I'm glad I'm just the drummer and not oh I don't know how about Madonna, Britney, who have to sing AND dance like there's no tomorrow!! How's their stamina?? Looks to me like it far excels my stamina. (but I have better looking hair!!)

  8. #8

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    I would have never started drumming if I thought I'd be a liability. So, with that said, a drum doesn't need to be hit hard to sound great, it just needs to be hit properly. A drum also doesn't need to be hit obnoxiously to make it loud and heavy...... I have a snare that can only be hit at about mf, f or ff would be too freakin' LOUD! LOL As far as stamina, please sister, women have just as much stamina as men (look at the women olymipans). Typically women don't choose the non-boom-chicky-boom-drumming because they just don't have that aggression in them that men do, we aren't built that way. However, it doesn't mean that you or I can't do it. We most certainly can! So, what I'm saying is, you do not have to be as strong as a man to be a freak on the drums BTW, my teacher said I am one of the hardest hitting students he's ever taught (and I'm a woman and the oldest student he's ever had).

  9. #9

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    Look at the band "The Iron Maidens." To play Nicko you gotta be able to wail at least a little bit. And as far as stamina goes, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner is 13.5 minutes long. I get wore out about half way through.
    Robert

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  10. #10

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    Hey mods this should be in the off topic thread - Female Drummers

    Good Stuff presented by Wailgirl

  11. #11

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    Drumming is mostly in your mind and in your wrists, so I don't really see what physical prowess has to do with it. Any bozo (or bozette) can bash loud; it takes a REAL drummer to play softly with skill, and to play to the volume and groove of what's going on on the stage.

    Yes, to get respect as a girl drummer, you'll probably have to be TWICE as good as any guy drummer; but that is not about volume, it's about skill and musicality. The limitations are only in your own mind.

    Now. . .go make me a sandwich, woman!
    And the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw. . .

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazmania View Post
    Hey mods this should be in the off topic thread - Female Drummers

    Good Stuff presented by Wailgirl
    It's not off topic, we're talking about drumming aren't we?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by =^-..-^= View Post
    Now. . .go make me a sandwich, woman!
    Why is it always a "sandwich", why not a burger or sloppy joe?

  14. #14

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    I suppose it is

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by drum_chick View Post
    So, what I'm saying is, you do not have to be as strong as a man to be a freak on the drums BTW, my teacher said I am one of the hardest hitting students he's ever taught (and I'm a woman and the oldest student he's ever had).
    Oh man, RD is going to have a field day with this one!

    Quote Originally Posted by drum_chick View Post
    Why is it always a "sandwich", why not a burger or sloppy joe?
    Heck, I'll take a burger or sloppy joe!!
    ****************************************
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    ****************************************
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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norske View Post
    Oh man, RD is going to have a field day with this one!

    No, not at all. As I said, I've seen plenty of woman musicians who have intense attack. Unfortunately, almost none of them are drummers. I just think that most talented woman intrumentalists are Classical string musicians. On the other hand, I don't have a problem with that. It doesn't matter to me what demographic group a musician comes from, or if one demographic group happens to dominate one aspect of music. Who cares?

  17. #17

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    Spot on, here here, whoot whoot

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by wailgirl View Post
    How physically strong will I need to be to be a really good drummer? Not asking how to get strong, but "how strong" does a good drummer need to be?
    As strong as you are.


    You're not at any disadvantage. You don't need to hit drums all that hard anyways, and they do have volume limits no matter how hard you hit them. It's all in technique: let the drum play itself, you just guide the notes.

    NOW GO BEAT THE SNOT OUT OF YOUR KIT!!!
    "Life is backwards. Happiness isn't something you seek, it's something that finds you when you are doing the right thing." - Zone47

  19. #19

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    You're going to get a much better sandwich out of me than a drum roll, at this point. Coming right up, baby.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by wailgirl View Post
    You're going to get a much better sandwich out of me than a drum roll, at this point. Coming right up, baby.
    haha thats a good one. But in all honesty all that it takes to be a good drummer is dedication. and as for strength you need to be as strong as you need to be for what your gonna play. I actually started seeing a medical massage therapist/physical therapist for my shoulder and found my drumming to improve just by doing more stretching. so if you decide to build muscle make sure you stretch or it could reverse your progress by tightening you up. and even if you do not work out make sure you stretch to keep yourself loose

    BUT you do not need to be any stronger than you are to be a great drummer. Practice makes perfect is extremely true with the drums, and all music. Practice you rudiments alot and practice at different speeds, and always push your limits to expand your potential. Just practicing alone will build the muscles necessary to play.

    Good luck i hope this helped
    -Steven

  21. #21

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    Stamina is more of a mental thing then physical thing. Depends on how hard you wish to push yourself but also to know your limits with what you can do based on what you can do as person not as a women.





    RoadDebris..... Normally I try not to offend anyone or make comments about other members because it is rude and not respectful. However in this case I am going to make a rare exception......

    What Rock did crawl out of???? Do you know Madonna or Spears personally? Would that even matter? What gives you the right to call people names? Do you think it makes you look cool? Do you even know what those names mean? In the future I think you should keep your Immature comments to yourself. We have young people who browse these forums. This is a place for all people to come for help when it comes to drums.

    What if those two people wished to play and came here for help? Would you turn them down based on what you see on the news? Like I have said before I am no mod this is my personal opinion but if you cannot show some kind of maturity on these forums please stop posting here.

    I would also like a Mod to edit the words out which was mentioned above in the post. I am refurring to.

  22. #22

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    i agree with everything that's been said so far, and Lagerhead's mention of The iron Maidens, and Iron Maiden's song "rime of the ancient mariner" is absolutely true.

    especially after the bridge section with the excerpt from the poem the song was inspired by.

  23. #23

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    Have you ever cracked a whip? If so, the tip of the whip went through the sound barrier, 760 MPH. How fast do you need? This is a serious point, there is a technique based on a whipping motion. Check out Dom Famularo and the Moellar technique for building power and speed WITH relaxation. Once you have the power and speed to produce the sound that you need, to be honest, everything else is just dancing, and you can dance can't you?

    Andy

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beasty101 View Post
    Stamina is more of a mental thing then physical thing. Depends on how hard you wish to push yourself but also to know your limits with what you can do based on what you can do as person not as a women.





    RoadDebris..... Normally I try not to offend anyone or make comments about other members because it is rude and not respectful. However in this case I am going to make a rare exception......

    What Rock did crawl out of???? Do you know Madonna or Spears personally? Would that even matter? What gives you the right to call people names? Do you think it makes you look cool? Do you even know what those names mean? In the future I think you should keep your Immature comments to yourself. We have young people who browse these forums. This is a place for all people to come for help when it comes to drums.

    What if those two people wished to play and came here for help? Would you turn them down based on what you see on the news? Like I have said before I am no mod this is my personal opinion but if you cannot show some kind of maturity on these forums please stop posting here.

    I would also like a Mod to edit the words out which was mentioned above in the post. I am refurring to.
    RD's post will not be edited by me. I sent you a PM.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyC View Post
    Have you ever cracked a whip? If so, the tip of the whip went through the sound barrier, 760 MPH. How fast do you need? This is a serious point, there is a technique based on a whipping motion. Check out Dom Famularo and the Moellar technique for building power and speed WITH relaxation. Once you have the power and speed to produce the sound that you need, to be honest, everything else is just dancing, and you can dance can't you?

    Andy
    Aww you beat me to it. Wailgirl, check out guys like Jim Chapin or Joe Morello (look for videos on youtube and drummerworl) and you will see that physical size is misleading. There are two types of muscle strength, fast and slow. Slow muscle is strength is what you see in guys with huge biceps, etc... Fast muscle strength is what you see in sprinters, basketball players, etc... It's sometimes referred to as fast twitch muscles.

    Joe Morello looks like some old biker dude hanging out at some cheezy bar, and yet his technique is ridiculous. In a lot of his teaching videos he looks like he's literally in his 70's.

    I'm a big guy, 6'3" 240 lbs (being optimistic on weight since it's winter) and while I guess I play fast and can hit hard, that's more training than strength. The only thing that needs to be strong is your wrists and forearms.

    People watch drummers like Lars Ulrich and Travis Barker play rock and they flail (as do I but more for showmanship than anything) and it seems like that makes you fast. Speed is actually much more about control than strength.

    In other words, if you want to play faster, etc... learn to play slowly really, really well. Do rudiment practices, etc.. The book Stick Control is a good resource for repetition to build speed and control. Also, play along with stuff that fits what you want to do. I grew up trying to play Rush, and while I probably never did a lot of it well, it forced me to concentrate on playing better and faster, not just faster like a lot of the punk I listened and played to.

    Sorry for the long winded answer, I'm a teacher and it's a snow day (ice storm) so me and my kids are home hanging.

    Good luck.
    Jesse

    1986 Tama Crestar - Lacquered Piano White
    2016 Roland TD-25K
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