The development of gender associated attitudes, preferences and interactions to musical instruments: sound and image

Marshall, Nigel and Shibazaki, Kagari (2013) The development of gender associated attitudes, preferences and interactions to musical instruments: sound and image. Music Education Research, 15 (4). pp. 406-420. ISSN 1461-3808

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Abstract

This paper reports on the results of a study carried out with 105 children, aged between three and four years in three nursery units in London and Surrey, UK. The aim of this study was to explore the level of association which young children have between various musical instruments, musical styles and a particular gender. However, we also aimed to investigate if and how any gender association could be affected through the addition of an image of the featured musical instrument along with the sound of the instrument being played. The study had two conditions. In condition one, children were played 14 short (10 seconds) musical excerpts, 7 classical pieces and 7 jazz/pop pieces on 7 musical instruments, which previous research had identified as having strong associations with either males or females; namely flute, violin, piano, guitar, trumpet and drums. In this condition, the children were also given the name and shown an image of the instrument featured in the excerpt. In condition two, participants heard only the sound of the instrument and were neither given a name nor shown an image. Children expressed their gender association through the use of small playing cards, each featuring the cartoon image of either a boy or girl. Our results suggested that gender associations do exist in very young children, many of whom have spent a relatively short time in the education system and the presence of an image, alongside the sound of an instrument can in some instances dramatically change the gender they assign to the individual instrument.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: gender stereotypes, musical instruments, musical style, gender associations, early childhood
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: H Social Sciences
L Education
Depositing User: Daniel Hobbs
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2015 12:14
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2015 12:14
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/52037
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