Drumming was historically and unfairly coded as a masculine art form, with the music industry being dominated by men. However, drumming is becoming more accessible to women, breaking down the molds of “generic” instruments.

United Audio’s engineer approached Karen Carpenter during an early recording session. He said, “Your boyfriend has trained you well. You can set up his drums for my boyfriend.” Karen replied with a sheepish smile, “I am your drummer.”

Karen Carpenter, an iconic drummer, has set the example for female artists and students in the School of Rock to be bold and confident in their craft, despite the male-dominated industry.



Karen Carpenter wasn’t the first woman to have a successful drumming career in history, but she is most well-known. Her powerful and clear vocals are what has made her famous. People seem to forget that Karen Carpenter defeated John Bonham’s drummer in the 1976 Best Drummers poll. Her marching skills resulted from her high school experience in the marching band. She also had a jazz sensibility unmatched by any drummer, male or female. She managed tricky drum transitions and maintained her relative pitch as a lead singer. Karen Carpenter, a truly unique drummer and person, was a role model for girls. She can’t see herself as a singer and says, “I love it.” If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing [drumming].” It’s often viewed as a gimmick. It’s not a gimmick, and I don’t care about what they think. It’s my instrument.


Viola Smith was called the “fastest girl drummer globally” and became the first female jazz drummer. Viola Smith might be the first female drummer to establish a name for herself, and it may not have been possible without the Great War. Women were not the only ones who filled the roles of men drafted in World War II. Smith stated that many of the top-flight instrumentalists in big-name bands were drafted during national emergency times. Why not replace them with mediocre talent? “.

A female drummer was a shock to audiences in the 1930s and 1940s. Viola Davis didn’t shy away from the attention. She didn’t just hide behind the kit; she also had a unique setup. Viola would place two-floor toms sideways above her head and march bass drum style. To add some spectacle, she also placed the floor toms higher than she to reach up and perform.

Despite recording very little in her life, she maintained sponsorships from Zildjian Ludwig and played in the original Broadway Cabaret run in 1966. Viola Smith was the Rosie the Riveter’ of drumming, and she walked so that the next drummers could run.


Maureen Tucker, also known as Moe, was part of Velvet Underground’s proto-punk music style and social movement. She may have been the godmother to punk drumming.

She started playing drums with a second-rate drum set and never learned to use cymbals. She maintained her style when she joined The Velvet Underground in 1965. She believed that cymbals were too loud to drown out other members of The Velvet Underground. She thought that cymbals drowned out the drum since drummers should keep time.

Viola Smith had a unique drum set, but she was different from Viola Smith. It consisted of an upturned bass drum and a snare. She preferred to use mallets over drumsticks. This minimalist style helped create punk drumming, like those eighth-note tom beats. It also allowed Lou Reed and other Velvet Underground members to improvise and perform instead of following cues throughout the song. All of these drummers owe Maureen Tucker for helping them transition to the 1970s.


People often shout, “Girls invented Punk Rock. Not England!” They almost always refer to The Runaways. Without Sandy West, their distinctive SoCal sound wouldn’t have the same punch. Sandy West, a drummer with her brand of rock-n’roll, burst onto the scene in the same decade with Karen Carpenter. But, she was more energetic than anyone had ever seen. She rocked out with her Sandy West Band for decades, even after the Runaways’ explosion. For that classic punk sound, listen to Cherry Bomb by The Runaways.


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