Why are there so few female drummers

In search of clues: Why are there so few female drummers?

Got onto the drums as an adult

Madeleine Bartmuß, 32, Ulrike Schlücker, 64, and Monika Zientz, 67, were not impressed by it. You started playing drums as an adult.

Monika Zientz received a trial voucher for the music school two years ago. “The drums fascinated me,” says Zientz. She didn't know much about what it was like to play the drums and quickly discovered that it was a coordination challenge. “You have many parts on the instrument, you move your two arms and two legs at the same time. I felt challenged. "

While on vacation in Zimbabwe, she got to know the African drum djembe. A tin drum that is usually covered with goatskin. She has more fun playing with the djembe and so she switches to the instrument.

"It fits my life"

“I was never interested in music at school,” says Madeleine Bartmuß. “I always voted off that, but I really enjoyed going to concerts.” She loved to feel the bass. Two years ago she started playing drums on a taster course.

“I think the instrument fits my life quite well,” says Bartmuss, who works as a nurse. “I think I got in there easier than with the piano.” The instrument forgives her if she doesn't manage to practice for two weeks.

Ulrike Schlücker also stayed with the drums. “It's physically demanding. But somehow I liked it, ”she says. She started playing drums four years ago. An important role model for her was a colleague who played drums in the school band. “I was impressed that a woman plays the instrument,” she says.

Ideas shaped

The American psychologist Betty Repacholi conducted a study in 2001 to determine whether it makes a difference whether men or women play an instrument. She showed videos with music groups in different gender compositions in different control groups. She found out that the girls were more willing to play an instrument that was considered “male” if they had previously seen women play it, i.e. if they had a role model. Boys didn't need that; they too preferred instruments that were more likely to be attributed to men.

Women are still underrepresented in the professional music scene. An exact, representative list of how many female drummers there are in the world does not exist. The English Wikipedia counts 100 "relevant" female drummers from the English-speaking world. In the case of men, if you just count the names with the letters A and B, there are already around 150. There is no comparable list for Germany.

At the Selmer Music School, Bartmuß, Schlücker and Zientz are the only female drummers among the music students (the Jekits program is not one of them). That is 19 percent of 16 male drum students.

Nothing special

Basically, Madeleine Bartmuß, Ulrike Schlücker and Monika Zientz think that their choice to play the drums shouldn't be viewed as special, but "if you see a woman playing somewhere, it's something special," says Madeleine Bartmuß.

Monika Zientz could imagine that young girls tend to opt for an instrument that is more melodic. "I also believe that the drums are not necessarily the first priority for parents," Madeleine Bartmuß could imagine. There are also electronic drums that can be played with headphones.

Anyone can play any instrument

Verena Volkmer, the head of the music school is convinced: “Everyone can play any musical instrument.” She thinks it's good when clichés are broken. For example, your daughter plays the harp and drums. She believes that digitization can help overcome possible limits. Today you can watch videos of female drummers from all over the world on YouTube. "If you don't know something, how am I supposed to get interested in it?" Asks Volkmer.