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This isn’t academic, but I’ve seen others’ postings similar to mine and I need to get this one out of my system.

I’m a drummer in a metal band—not only do I play a male-dominated instrument, but I play a male-dominated genre. And I’m blonde. Triple whammy. I’ve been playing for about 13 years and I’ll float my own boat by saying that I’m a good drummer, so I’ve experienced my fair share of prejudice (“Need help carrying that equipment?” “Here, let me take that for you.” “You’re really sweet to help your boyfriend.” “Which band member are you dating?”)

A few years ago I was with a friend (let’s say more like a good acquaintance) at mutual friend’s gig and we were talking about drumming. This good acquaintance had been playing bass for many years but he had just started learning to play the drums and felt like he was progressing quickly. He’d critiqued my playing before, but I’d actually benefited from that particular feedback. However, this time, he said to me “You need to hit harder. Use your whole arms, not your wrists.” Now, let me explain something. Any professional drummer will tell you that “it’s all in the wrists.” Hitting hard does not make you a better player, even in metal; you need to value technique, feel and accuracy, and good drumming comes from the wrists.

I told him gently. “No, it’s actually about using your wrists and getting a good snapback, like you’re drawing the sound out of the instrument. You can play more quickly and more accurately.” To which he replied: “No, it’s all in the arms, you see, I’ve started learning drums, and you just need to hit harder and get more power by bringing your arms all the way up.” This became a back-and-forth argument, where I assured him that if he would “ask any other drummer, period, if you should be playing from the wrists or the arms, and they will all tell you the same thing.” 

He refused to believe me. Needless to say, it’s left me with a bad taste in my mouth and even though he now works in the same building as me I don’t want to see much of him anymore.

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