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ERIC Number: EJ1102406
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-2379-9021
Gender Association with Stringed Instruments: A Four-Decade Analysis of Texas All-State Orchestras
Baker, Vicki D.
Texas Music Education Research, p3-14 2012
The purpose of this study was to track the gender makeup of the five string sections (Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, and String Bass) of Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) All-State Orchestras from 1971 to 2010, to determine if a clear gender stereotype was evident in any of the sections and if there had been a trend towards a change in gender and instrument association over the past four decades. Data were extracted from the "All-State History Rosters" located on the Texas Music Educators Association website ( The list of All-State members was sorted by instrument, ensemble, and year, and then students were categorized by gender based on their names. Androgynous names were omitted. Results were tabulated in percentages and displayed in bar graphs, grouped by decades. This study indicates that gender and instrument association has changed in some sections but has remained consistent across the past four decades in others. The Violin 1 section demonstrates the greatest amount of change, moving from a clear female majority for a span of three decades before shifting to a male majority since 2001. Likewise, there has been an increase in the percentage of male Violin 2 members over the last decade, claiming a 56% majority in the Symphony Orchestra. These data signify trends among the most gifted string players in the state of Texas and may not be representative of the general student population. It is important to note that, according to Green (2002), students who possess exceptional music talent are more likely to cross gender lines. Because this study has a limited demographic, it would be beneficial to examine the gender-instrument relationship among All-State orchestras and the general population of string players in other states to determine if the trends noted in this study are consistent in string programs across the United States. Results of this investigation provide pre-service and in-service music educators with data demonstrating the trends towards students in orchestra programs successfully crossing gender lines in instrument selection, and hopefully diminishing the role gender bias plays in instrumental selection. [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; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A