Gender stereotypes continue to persist at all levels regarding male and female participation in music. Indeed, stereotypes are evident at the elementary and middle school levels when children choose a musical instrument for study in beginning band or orchestra. Research has shown sex-stereotyping of instruments to exist, often unconsciously, in both males and females. Usually, trombones, drums, tubas are viewed as being overtly masculine instruments while the flute, clarinet, and oboe are viewed as being overtly feminine instruments. These masculine and feminine characteristics that are placed on these instruments are often transferred to the individual who plays them. These stereotypes are created from a variety of sources, including popular media, parents, teachers, and other children. However, stereotypes can effectively be reduced by the manner of presentation of instruments to the students for the first time. For example, at a meeting of students and parents who are interested in beginning band, a female may demonstrate the trombone or tuba while a male may demonstrate the clarinet or oboe. This act alone does a great deal to break down sex-stereotypes of instruments and those who play them.
Walker, Mark J.
"Influences of Gender and Sex-Stereotyping of Middle School Student's Perception and Selection of Musical Instruments: A Review of the Literature,"
Visions of Research in Music Education: Vol. 4, Article 2.
Available at: https://opencommons.uconn.edu/vrme/vol4/iss1/2