Mar 22, 2023
Women's Drum Camps
If you would have told me when I was 16, that I would be running Women’s Drum Camps when I’m older, I’m not sure I would’ve liked it. When I started drumming, I was one of very few women and I thought I wouldn’t be taken seriously.
In fact, I hated it when someone called me a female drummer. I felt I had to prove myself even harder than any boy in the class. Fast forward two decades and the Women’s Drum Camps are selling out…It’s safe to say the script has definitely been flipped!!
I now don’t have those worries about being taken seriously. Perhaps due to experience, with years of gigs and tours and just truly being comfortable with who I am. I’ve realised that it means a lot more to me to help Women drum than it does to worry about what others think (most days anyway!).
I’m not a big fan of labels and whilst I don’t personally refer to myself as a female drummer often (just a drummer will do), until things are equal and women feel totally represented then I will continue to put these camps on.
I have been completely bowled over by the number of women who have contacted me who are older and who always wanted to drum but were told they couldn’t. These camps are for them. They are not to cause separation, or to undermine, or be against men. Far from it. My aim with these camps is just to create more drummers and more opportunities for women to take up space, push themselves and achieve something they thought they couldn’t do.
To give you an idea of what a camp is like I’ll explain how it works.
The venues have been different each time, but what’s important is the vibe!
Each space has been bright and big enough for at least one drum kit - sometimes two.
Each camper is given a practice pad to borrow if they don’t have their own. They are presented with their own syllabus book which is packed full of everything from grooves to technique to warm ups - they differ depending on which camp you sign up to. The campers are also gifted some sticks and sometimes some other camp treats like earplugs from ACS or special T-shirts.
It’s the little things that matter to me and creating a space where everyone feels welcomed, safe and valued is key.
We start off each camp with an icebreaker exercise to get everyone working together and then we get into the fundamentals straight away, as making sure the drummers are equipped with the right skills is very important - things like grip and technique we don’t gloss over and try and pass on what has worked for us and things to think about.
Each camper will get plenty of time on the drum kit, we all learn a particular groove or exercise on the pad and then each person gets up and has a go on the kit. We do this pretty quickly so that the group can get behind one another and everyone feels supported to try new things and get out of their comfort zone.
What we’ve found is that naturally, each camp is different and each camper has their own journey on the kit with what they want to achieve, but a theme runs through the whole weekend. This theme is one of empowerment, fun and togetherness.
I spent so long trying not to be thought of as a female drummer and now I am at ease and proud to be. Being female doesn’t make me any better or any less of a drummer. It’s just part of who I am.
Seeing other women go for their dreams is all part of what I’m trying to create and it is utterly thrilling to see a group of ladies going beyond where they thought possible and crushing it on the drums.
We have Beginner, Beginners Advanced, Intermediate and Advanced Camps in the works.
If you would like to join us please check out www.ciaradrums.com/drum-camps