Dorothea Taylor started playing drums at 13 when she joined a drum and bugle corps in her hometown in Michigan. She got her first set of drums in as a junior in high school and joined a band after she graduated, playing five nights a week. She started teaching drumline for her school’s Feeder Corps when she was 17 and has basically been teaching off and on ever since. She’s been in polka bands, rock bands, theater groups, church cantatas, symphony orchestras, jazz trios, and accompanies school concerts when an experienced drummer is needed.
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What kind of gear do you use? What’s your setup?
I play a six-piece DW kit in my studio. I use Meinl Byzance cymbals with them. Currently playing a Ludwig Questlove kit with Sabian HHX Evolution cymbals out with my current band. I also have a vintage Rogers drum set in my studio.
Do you have endorsements?
No, not yet. I have been given some things to play and give shout-outs to them, like Movement Drum Co. pad, Croaker Percussion brush box, Louson Drums cajon tab, and Big Fat Snare Drum sent two pads.
What bands/groups do you perform with, if any?
I’m in a classic rock/new country band currently called Badlander, and I’m also the drummer for an All City Choir that does three big concerts a year. And I sub for a couple of bands.
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What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?
Having a drum and bugle corps in my hometown for performances throughout the summers and also seeing Buddy Rich on television made my passion for drums even stronger. I had already taken six years of piano so I knew what I wanted to do.
Who is your favorite drummer and why?
I have to say Buddy Rich, but there are a lot of great drummers out there that I love.
How do you practice? Do you have a routine?
I try to do warm-ups on a practice pad. Singles, doubles, paradiddles, etc., before getting behind the drums.
Are there any specific playing tips or techniques, or advice, exercises, or discoveries you’d like to share with Drum readers?
Just to practice the essentials of drumming: rudiments, rudiments, rudiments! George Stone’s Stick Control is a must as well.
What’s something you believe about drumming or music that other people think is crazy?
That a real musician hears music and rhythms in his/her head 24 hours a day.
As artists, the goal post for “success” is always moving. There’s not one “I made it!” point. How do you think about and define success?
If you have reached your goal and you can pay your bills!
Do you have any quotes or sayings that you live by?
Be the best you can be.
How important is failure in making music/performing?
It should make you a better musician if you care.
Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this arena?
When I started out, there were no females playing in drum lines, but I didn’t care. I practiced everyday and loved every minute of it. So go for it and enjoy!
If you had to put together a school or resources for would-be drummers, what would the training include?
Strict exercises for hands. Essential rudiments. And reading.