Gender and Musical Instruments: Winds of Change? Jason Zervoudakes
AbstractA nationwide probability sample of elementary schools, high schools, and colleges and universities was contacted and asked to send programs from band and orchestra concerts over the past three decades. Players of instruments were coded for gender by means of their first names. Using the band or orchestra as the unit of analysis, we found that the mean proportion of females playing historically “male” instruments increased over the period, but so did the proportion of females playing historically “female” instruments. Partial correlation analysis holding overall proportion of females in the instrumental groups constant showed that the partial correlation between year and proportion female playing “female” instruments was significantly positive, and the partial correlation between year and proportion female playing “male” instruments was negative or zero. These results held for the high school and college level but not at the elementary level. Thus, we conclude that gender-based segregation has increased at the high school and college level, but we have no evidence that it has done so at the elementary level.