Here at Off Beat we pride ourselves on supporting our female drummers. From interviewing Marisa Testa and Sara Cardile to remembering the legendary career of Viola Smith we love showcasing women who have, or who are, blazing the trail for their peers. Tammy Woods is such a drummer. As the founder of Drummergirls United Tammy has organized one of the largest, if not the largest, group of women drummers who inspire and support each other personally and professionally. Tammy was kind enough to answer some questions about her organization:
MA: Tell us about the vision behind Drummergirls United.
TW: The vision I had starting Drummergirls United on FB (almost four years ago) was a simple one: to have a place where I could meet with my other female drumming buddies in one place. There was only about eight of us in the beginning. Now we have over 6,300 members and the vision has changed. It’s not just a convenient meeting place. It’s a very positive, inspiring, educational, and encouraging community for female (or female identifying) drummers of any age and skill level where they can feel safe and accepted. We keep all posts free from politics and drama or any controversy. We focus on our love of playing drums, our love of our gear, and our love of learning great technique. We learn how to have better concentrated practice times and the ins and outs of the music industry and making drumming a career if that is the direction that they are going. We post lots of educational videos, live teaching videos, we have zoom hang out sessions, and now twice a week I am interviewing drum “celebrities “ via zoom and our members can log in and ask questions live. Our group very much feels like a big loving family.
MA: What are the unique challenges that female drummers face today?
TW: The unique challenges we face are many faceted. Just today I read several times where a truly gifted drummer (who happens to be female) posts an incredible drumming video and I read comments like, “Wow, she’s great for a girl”, or “She’s a great drummer but she needs to get out in the sun”, or this one to me, “You look really different than you sound”. These are so ridiculous. A truly talented male drummer would never be told he’s good for a guy or he’s a great drummer, but he needs a tan. What does that have to do with anything? Two years ago, I was asked to show up and play at an open-mic night. When my name was called I walked up to the stage and passed two guys sitting together and I heard one say to the other “Oh great, a girl drummer” in a snarky, sarcastic way as I walked past them. I played the three-song set and they both stood up and gave me a standing ovation. This is just another example of the scrutiny that male drummers are never under that we female drummers, unfortunately, face constantly. It shouldn’t matter if we are male or female, young or pretty or thin or sun-tanned. We are drummers.
MA: What does the future hold for female drummers?
TW: The future is VERY BRIGHT for female drummers!!! There are so much education out there now and on-line lessons, YouTube, masterclasses, clinics, etc…and slowly we are becoming much more accepted as equals in the industry. I am thrilled that I get to do my part to shine a light on these incredibly talented girls and women in this industry.
Drummergirls United Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/216201188860059