Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Gender differences in musical instrument choice

By Susan Hallam, Lynne Rogers and Andrea Creech

Abstract

Historically, there have been differences in the musical instruments played by boys and girls with girls preferring smaller, higher pitched instruments. This paper explores whether these gender preferences have continued at a time when there is greater gender equality in most aspects of life in the United Kingdom. Data were collected from the 150 Music Services in England as part of a larger survey. Some provided data regarding the sex of pupils playing each instrument directly. In other cases, the pupils’ names and instruments were matched with data in the national Common Basic Data Set to establish gender. The findings showed distinctive patterns for different instruments. Girls predominated in harp, flute, voice, fife/piccolo, clarinet, oboe, and violin and boys in electric guitar, bass guitar, tuba, kit drums, tabla and trombone. The least gendered instruments were African drums, cornet, French horn, saxophone and tenor horn. The gendered pattern of learning was relatively consistent across education phases with a few exceptions. A model was developed which sets out the various influences which may explain the continuation of historical trends in instrument choice given the increased gender equity in UK society

Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.ioe.ac.uk.oai2:2274

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1989). A historical comparison of public singing by American men and women,
  2. (1993). A study of middle school band students’ instrumental choices,
  3. (1993). Age and gender differences in children’s self- and task perceptions during elementary school,
  4. (1991). Assessing gender-typing and androgyny in children: The children’s gender-role inventory, doi
  5. (1994). Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music doi
  6. (1993). Attitudes of children towards singing and choir participation and assessed singing skill,
  7. (2004). Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime.
  8. (1995). Effects of age, gender and training on musical preferences of British secondary school students,
  9. (1984). Effects of melodic perception, instruction on pitch discrimination and vocal accuracy of kindergarten children, doi
  10. (2002). Family dynamics and family scripts: A case study of musical development,
  11. (1982). Gender and age related differences in the musical behaviour, interests and attitudes towards music of 232 secondary school students, doi
  12. (2005). Gender and Instrumentation distribution in an international cross-section of wind and percussion ensembles,
  13. (1994). Gender and musical instruments: Winds of change, doi
  14. (1988). Gender as a social category,
  15. (1992). Gender association of musical instruments and preferences of fourth-grade students for selected instruments,
  16. (1994). Gender effects in school subject preferences: A research note, doi
  17. (1998). Gender in secondary music education in British Columbia,
  18. (1993). Gender stereotyping in children’s preferences for musical instruments, doi
  19. (1993). Gender/Gender research in music education: A review, doi
  20. (1994). Gendered education. Toronto:
  21. (1993). Girls, boys, and technology in music education, doi
  22. (2004). How important is practising as a predictor of learning outcomes in instrumental music? In
  23. (2006). Lads and Ladettes in School.
  24. (1991). Music for Ages 5 to 14: Proposals of the
  25. (1997). Music, gender and education. NY:
  26. (2002). Not a problem? Girls and School Exclusion. London: National Children’s Bureau.
  27. (2002). Perception of musicians: Gender stereotypes and social role theory, doi
  28. (1986). Primary measures in music audiation (revised).
  29. (1992). Problems experienced by talented young musicians as a result of the failure of other children to value musical accomplishments,
  30. (2004). Sex differences in the factors which predict musical attainment in school aged students,
  31. (1978). The gender-stereotyping of musical instruments, doi
  32. (1997). The social psychology of music
  33. (1992). Women and gender: A feminist psychology. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.