Welcome! I have been playing and teaching drums and percussion for most of my life. I specialize in rudimental drumming and drum set and am also known for my creative approach to music which includes making and playing instruments out of common household items such as car mufflers, exhaust pipes, paint buckets and trash cans. I direct a “Stomp-like” percussion ensemble for women called The Les Prestines. I have been a Hit Like A Girl International Drum Set finalist numerous times (tenors in 2018, 2nd in 2019, 3rd in 2020 and Champion in 2021). I have been an instructor for numerous drum lines, Girls Rock Camp, Ladies Rock Camp and teaching drumming to senior citizens. I am currently accepting students for on-line drum lessons (contact me at I hope you enjoy my website!


An Interview with Karen Newell

How and when did you first begin playing drums?

I  traded a large hunk of clay for a used pair of  drum sticks with a neighbor boy.  I began by playing on the seat of a vinyl chair while listening to 45 records.   At the age of 9, I began playing in the school band program.  I started taking private drum lessons in the 6th grade.  Throughout junior high and high school I played in every conceivable school/church/local event.

Who were your early influences?

My first musical recollection was wanting to learn the drum part to the theme to the TV program Hawaii 5-0. I later got hooked on Earth, Wind and Fire/ early Al Jarreau, David Sanborn and Spyro Gyra.

Who do you listen to now?

Rick Braun, Boney James, Rippingtons, and Cirque Du Soleil and many, many more…..

Favorite drummers?

I appreciate Dave Weckl for his exceptional chops and technique but I love Steve Gadd’s playing. He has an incredible ability to play simple and subtle, but very tasty.  He plays just the right thing, in the right spot, at the right time.

Drum Sets

Tempro (Japanese) Blue Sparkle  (received about 6th grade)

Ludwig Green Vistalite Power Factory (July 15, 1978 it arrived after special order, still have it)

Yamaha Recording Custom ala Steve Gadd (Black finish) (early 1990s)

Pearl Export Honey Amber Lacquer (won HLAG 2021)

Roland TD-17KVX V-Drums

Roland TD-30KV V-Pro Series V-Drums (won HLAG 2019)

Blue Satin Flame refurbished set

Sea Shell Pearl refurbished set

Pearl Travelers Set

Favorite Sticks:  Drum Set: Regal Tip by Calato 5A

Marching Snare: Vic Firth American Custom SD1Jr (red)

Favorite Cymbals: Zildjian

Favorite Hardware: Gibraltar