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Who Says Drums Are For Boys?

Moe Jerant is a local musician who fought her way past stereotypes to become a rockin' chick - now she's trying to pass that knowledge on.

Katie Strzeszewski

Special to MergeDigital

Women who rock are hard to find. That's why Moe Jerant, percussionist extraordinaire and drum instructor at Dave Phillips in Allentown, is trying to give more women in the Lehigh Valley a taste of music.

A native of the Valley, Jerant has been a serious fan of music since she was very young. "When I was in seventh grade, my family moved, and the girls in my class got together and bought me a snare drum, and that was it," she said. "The first band I was ever in? It was probably an imaginary band that I made up a name for and I was in it with my cousins who couldn't even play instruments."

Jerant loved to play but she couldn't read music so joining the usual organizations wasn't an option. "I played every chance I could," she said.  "Through high school, I did the garage band thing. I created as many opportunities as I could with people I knew."

Jerant advises young musicians to follow her lead and do whatever they can to follow their dream.

At the time Jerant was trying to break onto the music scene, it didn't help that she was a girl who wanted to play drums. "When I was growing up, the guys seemed to get accomplished more quickly because it was okay for them to do that kind of stuff," Jerant said. Even today, Jerant  thinks instruments that are considered more masculine, such as drums and trumpets, or feminine, such as flute or piano. "If you decided you were going to play something outside the norm, there was a little bit of shielding you had to develop for yourself because you were going to hear about it," she said

Jerant admits that when it comes to drums, men have a physical advantage.

Jerant fought through the stereotypes, eventually did learn how to read music and got a BFA in music from East Stroudsburg University. After college, Jerant played in several bands, the most noteworthy of which was Large Flowerheads, which began as a 60s cover band that played everything from that era--pop, psychedelic rock, doo-wop--and eventually tackled more contemporary material.

In the professional world, Jerant found a new focus. "I was so focused for so many years on a big kit: play hard, play loud, play fast. Play better than the guys."

Jerant knows that things have changed in recent times but she still feels the stereotypes looming.

Today, she focuses on the challenge of playing and teaching different kinds of drums. "The first [world] drum I started playing was a djembe and I did it on a challenge," said Jerant. "the challenge was that it would be easier to get gigs not taking out the drum kit."

Jerant is currently involved in hand percussion programs for local productions, including The Vagina Monologues. She also plays in local Celtic band Emerald City and acts as the artistic director for the Lehigh Valley Drum Circle Ensemble.

Jerant's other major gig is for Dave Phillips Music, where she teaches drums. Her mother told her to get a teaching certificate and teach in a classroom but Jerant couldn't be pushed back to school and out of music. Her response: "Why should I go through all that hassle when right now, here today now, I already have the perfect student-teacher relationship?"

Jerant finds satisfaction in teaching young musicians.



Maureen 'Moe' Jerant * (610) 428-0544
Lv Drum Circle  * P.O. Box 541, Bethlehem, PA 18016