Follow Her Beat: Study With Drum Teacher Dena Tauriello

By Sandra Weyant | Jul 24, 2019
Courtesy of: John Fell Photography

Stafford Township, NJ — Looking to pursue a love of percussion? Start with a bang. Veteran drummer and Manahawkin resident Dena Tauriello is looking to give back to her beloved community by spreading her passion and knowledge about drumming to students and families near and far.

As a kid, Tauriello, like many other children, banged on pots and pans, but it wasn’t until she attended her first concert at age 7 that she became serious about taking drum lessons.

“I had the opportunity to see and meet Karen Carpenter of The Carpenters. She was a fabulous drummer, and seeing her on stage doing her thing, being amazing at it and totally loving it as much as she did was hugely inspirational to me. That was the turning point for me. It blew my mind, and that’s when I started bugging my parents for lessons. I began playing when I was 8,” Tauriello said.

She was also influenced by The Beatles, specifically drummer Ringo Starr.

“As songwriters and musicians, and in terms of modeling how to be a great band, The Beatles are the pinnacle across the board,” Tauriello said.

From that point on, she never missed a beat (literally). Tauriello followed her dreams and pursued a career in music, which has led her down numerous life-changing and exciting paths.

Drumroll, please …

Tauriello had the opportunity to join several bands throughout her career. She was a member of an all-female cover band named Good Girls Don’t that worked the Jersey Shore circuit regularly and performed all along the East Coast. She also was one of the original members of pop-punk-rock band From the Desk of Sally before she landed her next big gig.

For nearly 20 years, Tauriello toured with country-meets-rock band Antigone Rising. She traveled internationally with her bandmates, opening for such giants as the Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers and Aerosmith. Antigone Rising had a presence on VH1 and also appeared on “The Tonight Show” and “The Today Show.” Each one of these experiences has transformed her into the respected and talented musician she is today.

Even though Tauriello loves to jam, she recently split from Antigone Rising to take her career down a new avenue yet again. In 2018, she landed the drum chair for the new Broadway musical “Head Over Heels” and now subs at “The Cher Show.” For the past three years, she has also been collaborating with Matchbox Twenty front man Rob Thomas, for his acoustic quartet shows.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to work with one of the nicest guys on the planet. He’s a tremendous songwriter, and he knows exactly what he loves. He is very smart, so it makes my job that much easier to work with someone of that caliber,” Tauriello said.

Of all of her musical roles, she values being an educator the most. In addition to being a drummer and an instructor, Tauriello is a certified drum therapist with the DAD (Drums and Disabilities) program.

“I do clinics and private lessons. I am looking to connect to the community on that level, for any students or families that are interested. I grew up listening to classic rock, so that is my wheelhouse and my true love, but I can teach a variety of styles,” she said.

Tauriello can teach clients all of the basics, too, such as how to read music. She has a private studio in her townhouse and is also willing to travel to nearby clients. If neither of those options works, she also offers lessons via Skype.

One of Tauriello’s latest achievements – and a career highlight – was earning a feature in the September 2018 issue of Modern Drummer Magazine, the most widely read international publication for drummers. Once she gets going, no one can keep up with her tempo. When she is not touring or attending rehearsal sessions, Tauriello practices her techniques for at least 30 minutes to an hour per day.

“I will do more if my schedule allows for it. It could just be reading music or sitting at my practice pad and keeping my hands loose … something related to whatever I have going on,” she said.

There is only one way to develop skills and hone any craft: practice, practice, practice. Tauriello is dedicated to igniting the musical fire at the Jersey Shore, one drum set at a time.

“I love it in Manahawkin. This area is really important to me, and I love the people. I have this vehicle, this specific thing, that can connect me to the community, and that is what means a lot to me. Long Beach Island is extremely special. There is no place like it,” Tauriello said.

For more information about signing up for drum lessons with Tauriello, visit denatauriello.com.

— Sandra Weyant

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