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ERIC Number: EJ1102257
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-2379-9021
Sex-Types and Instrument Selection: The Effect of Gender Schemas on Fifth Graders' Instrument Choices
Wiedenfeld, Laura M.
Texas Music Education Research, p64-76 2012
Since the mid-1970s, music education researchers studied and followed musicians' and non-musicians' views of music instrument gender stereotypes and associations. To understand instrument gender stereotypes, one must first understand the difference between sex and gender and gender's role in society. This research aims to study the views of beginning band students and their parents, and if their opinions of music and gender affect their instrument selections. Do fifth graders select their instruments based on social perceptions? Are parents a dominant force in their child's decision on what instrument to play in band? Is the sex role of the student reflected in their instrument selection? Would parents support their child if they opted for a gender-inconsistent instrument? These questions were synthesized in two surveys, one for parents and one for students, which were completed during an instrument drive at a North Texas-area middle school. The author hypothesized that this group of students would be more gender neutral, which would correlate with a gender-neutral band director and parents. Is this generation of new band students truly gender neutral, or is this middle school an exception to the norm, with other middle school students basing their instrument selections on gender guidelines placed on them by their parents and other outside influences that create their gender schemas? This pilot study revealed insights into instrument selection and gender. Fifth graders do select their instrument based on social perceptions; however, the social perceptions are changing and more instruments are considered gender neutral or androgynous. Parents were not the dominant force in their child's instrument selection among children in this sample; rather, the sound of the instrument and the student's ability and early success were the key factors in these children's instrument decision-making process. The sex-role of the student was sometimes reflected in their instrument selection. With little significant difference among the four sex-types, most of the students tested as androgynous; yet, they viewed the majority of their instruments as androgynous, as demonstrated in the high number of males and females testing and playing clarinet, horn, oboe, percussion, and trumpet. [Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Texas Music Educators Association (San Antonio, TX, Feb 2012).]
Texas Music Educators Association. 7900 Centre Park Drive, Austin, TX 78754. Tel: 512-452-0710; Fax: 512-451-9213; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A