Sharon Ransom has been drumming for 13 years. She’s taught drum lessons, played in a number of studio sessions, and played in different competitions and gigs. However, out of all of the things mentioned above, teaching drum lessons has always been a major passion of hers. She is a teacher at heart and loves to see new students progress in their skills, no matter what level they are at.

Women are underrepresented in the percussion world. Our weekly series, Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW), aims to recognize, celebrate, and inspire female percussionists of all stripes. Each Wednesday we’ll feature a profile of a drummer, who will share tips, advice, and videos. 

What kind of gear do you use? What’s your setup?

I currently use a Ludwig Accent CS kit, with AA Sabian cymbals, and Vic Firth 7A drumsticks. I use Ultimate Ears for ear monitors, and an iPad with an AirTurn Quad BT106 to turn iPad pages for gigs. I set up my kit to be a four piece, with just the snare, tom, floor tom, and bass drum.

What bands/groups do you perform with, if any?

I have played with a number of bands and groups on and off over the years, with my main one being the Ashlynne Vince band with lead singer Ashlynne Vince, based in Nashville.

What led you to your instrument? What’s your origin story?

When I was younger, I remember my parents putting me in piano lessons, and I absolutely hated it. I legitimately thought that it was an instrument that was meant to be thrown, and truthfully, every time my parents made me practice the keyboard, I would turn it to the drumset setting and would start playing it like a drumset. I absolutely loved playing drum beats on that thing, and that eventually turned into me playing on a real drum set in my family friend’s basement, which led to me beat-boxing different rhythms to the beat of the sway of my windshield wipers in my car, to my parents finally buying me a drumset from Walmart.

After they saw my dedication of wanting to practice so much every day, they finally bought me my Ludwig Accent CS kit, which I still use today. However, recently my husband told me that he bought me a Grestch Catalina Maple kit, which is my dream kit. But anyways, it’s been really cool to see how the different people in my life have been supporting me in my drum playing abilities.

Who is your favorite drummer and why?

This one is such a hard one because there are so many drummers I absolutely love! But, if I were to choose someone I view to be my all around favorite drummer because of skill, technique, and even just personality, I would have to say Mike Johnston. He was the one who gave me online drum lessons when I was first starting out on the drums, and my love for drumming grew from there. And when I met him in Toronto, he remembered my name, which honestly was the coolest thing ever for me.

How do you practice? Do you have a routine?

I try to practice in different ways to challenge myself, whether that’s by doing the boring old rudiments on a practice pad, or applying the rudiments to a kit, or even listening to a song on the radio and coming up with different patterns. I always find myself tapping along on my legs, or using my gas pedal in my car as a bass drum pedal sometimes, which honestly, I don’t recommend.

Are there any specific playing tips or techniques, or advice, exercises, or discoveries you’d like to share with Drum readers?

This might be simple, but the advice I would tell people is to have fun with the drums. I feel like I have met too many drummers who are so serious about the instrument that they don’t remember what it’s like, or how to have fun with playing. So loosen up and be okay with having some fun with the drums!

In terms of advice, I will say that if you are serious about getting yourself out there in the community, or especially on social media, there will be some social media bullies, and it’s important to learn to listen to the ones that run with you rather than the haters who want to see you fail.

I have to keep reminding myself that lashing back isn’t necessarily helpful, and that in the end, these haters really don’t and shouldn’t have an impact on the next level I take my drumming to. So straight up, my advice would be to simply be okay with whatever skill level you’re at, surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed, and take steps to improve your skill level little by little.

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?

When it comes to success, everyone’s version is definitely different. For myself, the fact that I gig on the weekends, teach drum lessons throughout the week, and then lead music at my church, Oxford Baptist in Woodstock, is success to me. I have seen small successes in each of those sections, whether it be my success in improving the way I drum at a gig, or my success in finally being able to figure out how to teach a complicated rhythmic pattern to a student, and having my student understand. So, I would say that success is different for everyone, but I would define success as continuing to try your best and improving in. different facets of your life.

How important is failure in making music/performing?

So important. I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve messed up or failed in music making or performing. I believe it’s part of the process of making you a better drummer or musician and that it’s absolutely necessary. Like I mean, if you’re perfect at something already, it makes the process of figuring out an instrument kind of boring and meaningless.

Any advice for girls contemplating getting started and making it in this arena?

LADIES! Seriously. DO NOT allow hater men to put you down in ANY capacity. Women are just as capable of being in the drumming profession as much as guys are, and there is nothing stopping you as a woman to go out there and kill it on the kit. If there are people sexually harassing you on social media, ignore it. If you want to post some drumming video, or a cover of a song because you love to do that kind of thing, do it. There is no sense in holding back because of people who want to hate on your drumming. There are more people who will be encouraged and inspired by what you do when you go ahead and show your passion of drumming and music to people.

If you had to put together a school or resources for would-be drummers, what would the training include?

Does having all of the greatest drummers in the world in one school count? No, but seriously, I would say that a school consisting of how to play the drums both theoretically and practically, whether it be through books, to playing in a band with other instrumentalists, to playing in a group with various other drummers, would be absolutely sick! I guess that’s why we also have schools that legitimately do that. But still. I think that having a variety of approaches to learning the drums, whether it be one on one teaching, to group lessons, to band lessons are awesome ways to get an all-around feel as to how to improve on the drums.

Where else to find Sharon

If you want to see any drum videos of mine, feel free to head to the Ransom Drum Lab on Facebook or @ransomdrumlab on Instagram.