Breaking the Stereotypes as a Female Drummer

By: Winifred Tan

Hello everyone! I’m Winifred (a.k.a Wini or TinyWini), a female drummer based in Singapore. I’ve been playing the drums for 7 years, and studied drums as a private student at the Trinity College Music Examinations offered by London, in local music institutions. I’ve emerged as the finalist in the 2019 Hit Like a Girl competitions. Together with Collision Drumsticks, I’m also proud endorser of TRX cymbals, MEEaudio professional IEMs. I have been playing mostly MathRock, postrock & Alt Rock (and some progressive rock).

I have played in several bands in the past, and now I play for an online band/unit called “AltoDuo” consisting of myself and another bassist in instrumental/postrock music, which we collaborate with artists all over the world i.e. guitarists/keyboardists/rappers/singers. In AltoDuo, are only focused on releasing good music on streaming platforms. 

I do have another un-named band that i’m working out with, in a post-rock / math-rock / jazz-fusion kind of setting! Will update this on my Instagram at a later timing (@tinywiniondrums) as we do not want to release any information yet! I also play for other cover bands once in a while with genres in Alt rock, Indie Rock and neo-soul/pop genres. I’m also involved in other projects with independent local & overseas artists and record labels, where I track rock drums for them to be used in short films. I’m also currently in the top percussion crew, Urban Drum Crew, in Singapore.

In this guest blog post, I’d like to share how being a female drummer sets me apart and how to further set myself apart from other females, what has impacted me after I’ve been noticed as a female drummer, and the kind of fears or challenges (positive / negative) have I faced.

 

How Being a Female Drummer Sets Me Apart

  1. I get to break stereotypes that drums are not just for males. And that females can have as good musicality, grooves, techniques (even play fast) like males.
  2. It gets me more noticeability especially when I dwell into technical/difficult or groovy songs. 
  3. It allows me to explore things that I like, and things that are unique. I wasn’t trained from young as a drummer (started only about 7 years back from I was 19). But when I at 3, I started electone (also a rare instrument) with Yamaha Music School and it got me intrigued into both rhythms (because I have to design my rhythms/drums into the system or play with default ones) and musicality (because the keyboard has to be played, and tonality comes from there). This got me into the creative /improvisation realm where I was trained to arrange or create my own song altogether. 
  4. And that said, since I was more into unique stuff & into improvisation (postrock & mathrock are examples of such improv genres) and love playing around with different time signatures and math (like groups of different stick combinations e.g. triplets, quintuplets etc). I like to create rhythms like this nowadays and that’s what got me into my online improv band concept (AltoDuo) and I’m also having a new band coming up with other players (in the process of getting things done, probably an album by next year).

 

Being Noticed as a Female Drummer

  • In Collision, I’m probably one of the really few female drummers and I’m actually glad to be one of the first few to start impacting Collision’s culture. Hope to have more female drummers coming on board.
  • Life has definitely changed because people seem to really show you the respect everywhere you go. But that said, it shouldn’t just be because ‘you’re a girl and you can play drums’. Rather, it should be because ‘you’re a capable drummer, with as good standard as other professionals out there, regardless of gender’. It kind of feels a little demoralizing if you’re getting the first response from people, because then, you would be doubting yourself if you’re really a good drummer. And I’m sure as a drummer yourself, you would prefer to be treated with respect just like other drummers in the world, without gender inequality. I’m glad though, that most of my drummer friends & followers told me that they are actually glad that I am someone who likes to show looks/skin more than techniques and musicality. 
  • But on a side note, I think I need to smile more, I have that expressionless drumface all the time LOL!

 

 

Challenges

  • If you aren’t a female metal drummer means you aren’t good” – I would like to debunk this because I see many other great groovy female drummers who can keep time & groove so well, with the right mix of dynamics and technicalities. Whether you’re a female or a male, drummers playing any genre deserves to be respected, and I hope more drummers would learn to treat each other like a community with respect, than to play one another down. Come on, we are the backbone that every band / music can’t do without, right? ☺ 
  • Another challenge is that it was not easy trying to gain traction and visibility and I was glad being a collision artist helped me expand my reach for sure. Being in the competition last year also did the same. Joining my TRX cymbals, DrumHead & MEEaudio family also helped me extend my reach to other drummers and musicians in the world. I probably need to hone my social media marketing skills, sometimes getting my own friends to notice me and appreciate the styles that I create might also be a challenge! 
  • Of course, technicalities, levelling up etc, are all constant positive challenges so I’d embrace that and instead of complaining, just focus on practising, being aware of mistakes and try to correct them.

 


Winifred is an Endorsed Cruise Artist with Collision Drumsticks.

She is a talented drummer that we know and trust. She is a female drummer based in Singapore. She has been playing the drums for the past 7 years, and has studied drums as a private student at the Trinity College Music Examinations offered by London, as well as in local music institutions.

To learn more from Wini herself, here’s how you can get in touch:

Winifred Tan (Wini A.K.A. TinyWini)

Artist Profile

YouTube | Instagram | Email

 

One thought on “Breaking the Stereotypes as a Female Drummer

  1. Michael Trubetskov says:

    I couldn’t respect women in drumming more. Such an incredibly saturated field with men, and often with no real reason for that. I know that there is no real difference between males and females in playing and perception of music! Maybe just a slight physical difference, but that’s all.

    I’m very keen for female players to kick some male’s butts by showing better technique and just practicing properly rather than bragging about their achievements, as many males in the field do!

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