We are proud to announce that the 6, weekly, mini-contests for the 2019 Hit Like A Girl Contest are being judged by a panel of top drummer/educators from the Sabian Educator Network (SEN).

Click here for more information about the weekly contests and here for more information about SEN.

Sam Aliano

Since moving to the US from Australia in 2002, Sam Aliano has become one of LA’s top drum instructors while also performing with world-renowned musicians, including Slash, Fergie, Billy Sheehan, Frank Gambale and Nuno Bettencourt. Sam is also the drummer and Musical Director for Rock Against Trafficking’s soon to be released recording project, “Set Them Free”, which features a line-up of international superstars including Santana, Heart, Rob Thomas, Keb Mo and many others.

Brandon Faulkner

Starting out with mom’s pots, pans and wooden spoons— and a radio DJ father— Brandon Faulkner grew up with a constant exposure to everything from classic country, Motown, rock, blues, soul and R&B. Brandon began playing drums at the age of 7 and, in the age of music videos and MTV, learned much of his early skills from simply watching and imitating rockstars. He later received a formal eduction at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media and has studied with Creig Harber, Chip Lunsford, Tom Knight and Daniel Glass.

Over the years Brandon’s performance experiences included drumming for Perris Records artist Mad Margritt, the local classic country tribute band CONVOY, Appetite For Destruction, a nationally touring tribute band to Guns ’N’ Roses, and former Collective Soul lead guitarist, Joel Kosche.

Currently a private music instructor, clinician and session drummer, Brandon endorses Vic Firth and Remo and plays Gretsch drums, Sabian cymbals and DW pedals and hardware.

Eric Hughes

Eric C. Hughes holds a BA in Percussion from Plymouth State University and an MM in Studio Music and Jazz from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami (FL). Heis the Director of Percussion for Hightower High School in Missouri City, Texas and the Drum Set Committee Chairman for the Percussive Arts Society. Eric has performed with a wide variety of artists including Randy Brecker, Marvin Stamm, Chris Vadala, Roy Head, Archie Bell, Jerry Jeff Walker, The Tokens and many many others. He currently performs with The El Orbits and The Allen Oldies Band as well as many freelance projects. Eric is proud to be part of the Hit Like A Girl Contest.

Kevin Lehman

Kevin Lehman is a professional drummer and teacher living in  
Lakewood, CO. He has a degree in Music Education from University of  
Colorado and was a member of the inaugural class at the Los Angeles  
Music Academy (now Los Angeles College of Music) where he studied with  
Ralph Humphrey, Joe Porcaro, Mike Shapiro, Aaron Serfaty, Emil  
Richards, Billy Hulting, and Mike Packer.

Kevin currently teaches privately and for several high school  
percussion programs. He performs live in a wide variety of groups,  
from arena rock with the Champions, jazz with When It Was, and New  
Orleans funk/fusion with the Thoroughbreds. He also freelances for  
several groups and recording sessions.

Kevin is a Sabian Affilate Artist and endorses Duallist drum pedals.

Jim Mola

Jim Mola enjoys a multifaceted career in music. He has performed or recorded with jazz legends Phil Woods, Hank Jones, and Stanley Turrentine; wildly diverse entertainers like Tony Bennett, Weird Al Yankovic and Henny Youngman; and has played drums as well as percussion on numerous recordings and commercials. 

Jim is also active as a studio vocalist and voice-over artist, counting Family Guy, Robert DeNiro, NBC, Pixar, iHeart Radio, DL Hughley, The Smithsonian and many others as clients in commercials, radio and film. He is currently the voice of the Jolly Green Giant. 

As an educator, Jim is on the faculty at The Collective School of Music in New York City and serves on the Percussive Arts Society Drum Set Committee and the Sabian Education Network. He also teaches privately in New York City, leads a successful drum camp in NYC each summer, and travels as a clinician.

Jim endorses Sabian cymbals, Vater drumsticks, Aquarian drumheads, Humes and Berg cases, and Cympad cymbal optimizers. 

Dena Tauriello

A drummer, educator and author with a host of credits and tons of experience, Dena Tauriello currently holds the drum chair for the new Broadway musical, “Head Over Heels”. The show, co-produced by Gwenyth Paltrow, features the music of the Go-Go’s and recently premiered in San Francisco. It opens at the Hudson Theatre in New York in July. Dena has also been featured with Rob Thomas  of Matchbox Twenty as a member of the “RT Quartet” since 2017. A studio album and tour are planned in 2018.

In 1998, Dena began work with New York City-based female rockers, Antigone Rising. The band was signed to Lava/Atlantic Records and toured constantly for several years. During that time, Dena and the band enjoyed many high profile gigs, including a VH1 Special (Listen Up), appearances on the Today Show and Tonight Show, A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts and Emeril Live and opening slots for the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Allman Brothers, Rob Thomas, Joan Jett, Cheap Trick, B-52’s & the Bangles. Dena’s other past projects have included studio sessions with Lisa Loeb and live shows with Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Bernie Worrell (Parliament Funkadelic/Talking Heads) and Kathy Valentine (Go-Go’s).

Dena is a Certified Drum Therapist with the DAD (Drums & Disabilities) program, a freelance writer for Modern Drummer magazine, clinician, private teacher and a former Adjunct Professor at Passaic County Community College. She endorses Pearl, Sabian, D’Addario, Evans, ProMark and Drumtacs.

Timothy Thompspon

Timothy Thompson is a third-generation drummer— following a tradition that started with his grandfather, Gifford W. Thompson Sr., who played in Jazz and Dance Bands in Philadelphia in the 1920’s. He has been a “passionate” percussionist for over 45 years and his drumming interests span a wide range of genres, including jazz, rock, blues, fusion, funk and worship. He cites his top drumset influences as Steve Gadd, Joe Morello, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Neil Peart, Tommy Igoe, Gary Novak, and Dave Weckl.

Tim’s unique variety of interests and experiences served as a catalyst for his development as a professional drummer and a successful instructor. While attending Penn State University and Houghton College, Tim developed a passion for drum corps and began arranging/teaching High School level competitive drumlines. This combination of talents led him to compose, arrange and coach battery and front ensemble music for DCI-style Indoor Guard and Drumline competitions and resulted in winning multiple awards at high schools throughout Central Pennsylvania.

As Tim’s career flourished he also become involved with his children’s music development and their local school music activities. In 2011, Tim began Hamburg Percussion to meet the needs of Elementary through High School students by providing instruction, performance and competitive percussion opportunities to augment school supported activities.

In addition to being a member of SEN, Tim also supports the Professional Drum Teachers Guild of America, Vic Firth Education Team, D’Addario Education Collective, DrumDots – Authorized Education Partner, Villa Maria College Official Internship Site for Music/Percussion Students, Percussive Arts Society and Erie County Music Educators Association/New York State School Music Association.

Tim Thompson currently remains in high demand with 30+ private students and many other local and regional projects.

Andy Thurston

Based in Nottingham, England, UK, Andy Thurston is a prominent musician and passionate musical educator. Andy took lessons on piano, drums and guitar from a young age, developing his skills playing in local bands and church. His love for playing music inspired him to study music at university and, after spending three years at The University of Leeds and graduating with a BA in Popular Music Studies, Andy decided to focus his musical talents in education, teaching Music Performance and Recording Technology at North Nottinghamshire College and setting set up a private teaching studio.

Andy later enrolled at The Collective in New York, where he studied drum set under Kim Plainfield, Mark Flynn, Brad Flickinger and Tobias Ralph. While in the States he also had the privilege to study under Dom Famularo.

Alongside running his teaching practice with a roster of nearly 100 students, Andy has recorded and produced for a number of artists, as well as for his own groups. He has toured and played support slots with The Futureheads, Koufax, 90 Day Men, and Kaiser Chiefs. He is currently in rehearsal with Nottingham-based Sheryl Crow tribute Tuesday Night Music Club, and can also be seen playing guitar in Foo Fighters tribute act, Feu Fighters.

Andy endorses Vic Firth and Evans and, in addition to being an active member of the Sabian Education Network, he is also a member of the D’Addario Education Collective and the Musician’s Union (UK).

Kellie Rae Tubbs

Kelli Rae Tubbs is a drummer/percussionist and clinician based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  During the recent Christmas season, she was performing nightly with the season 12 winner of “The Voice”, Chris Blue, at the Smoky Mountain Opry.

Kelli curates a YouTube channel presenting original videos addressing historical drumming topics.  The “Back in Time” series takes an in-depth look at the equipment used by early trap drummers and the “Revival” series takes the viewer on the journey the restoring antique drums in her personal collection.  The videos have been watched more than 1,000,000 times by viewers across the globe.

In 2017, Kelli made presentations at the Chicago Drum Show, the National Women’s Music Festival, and performed with Daniel Glass, Dr. Denny Brown and Nicholas White at PASIC.

Kelli is a regular contributor to Vintage Drums Legendary Sounds and Tom Tom Magazine.  She is also a member of the PAS Scholarly Research Committee and the Society for American Music. She is currently co-authoring a book with Daniel Glass entitled, “The Postcard Project:  A Snapshot of Drumming Life, 1900-1930” which features her collection of photographs of drummers from the early 20th century.