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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The effect of model gender on instrument choice preference of beginning band students
by Vickers, Mark E., Ph.D., University of Hartford, 2015, 125; 3700787
Abstract (Summary)

Society attaches gender stereotypes to musical instruments, which may influence students’ selection of an instrument for study. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of model gender on instrument preference of beginning band students during the selection process. I used two research questions to guide the study: 1. Do student instrument preferences prior to an instrument demonstration reflect typical trends in gender stereotypes of instrumental performers? 2. Does the gender of the person modeling the instruments during a demonstration and selection process affect the instrument choice preference of the student?

Participants (N = 171) from six schools with five instructors from the Northeast were grouped into four treatment groups. First, I designed a questionnaire containing a pretest and posttest. In the pretest, the participant responded with demographic information consisting of grade, sex, and whether or not a parent played an instrument, and if so, which one. Next, participants rated their preference for six band instruments on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 representing no desire to play the instrument and 5 representing a strong desire to play the instrument. After observing the instrument demonstration, the participants rated their preferences for the instruments in the identical format as the pretest. Participants next answered an open-ended question that asked why they most preferred the instrument they did.

I conducted a pilot study with 23 participants and determined that the research instrument was suitable. Next, I administered the research instrument to four treatment groups. Treatment 1 (n = 76) observed all instruments demonstrated by a female modeler. Treatment 2 (n = 30) observed all instruments demonstrated by a male modeler. Treatment 3 (n = 23) observed all instruments demonstrated by typically associated gender stereotype modelers. Treatment 4 (n = 42) observed all instruments demonstrated by atypically associated gender stereotype modelers.

I determined the internal reliability of the research instrument with Cronbach’s Alpha (? = .68). After determining a mean gain score by subtracting the pretest preference score from the posttest preference score, I performed a series of ANOVA tests. Students preferred instruments along typical gender stereotype lines initially with females preferring flute and males preferring trumpet most. I determined that there was no effect of model gender on instrument preference of beginning band students. While some changes in preference existed from pretest to posttest, especially for trumpet, none of the changes were significant. I determined in the posttest that while males continued to prefer trumpet most, females most preferred trumpet and clarinet equally with flute their next choice. Instruments played by parents followed typical gender stereotype assignments with most mothers playing flute followed by clarinet and most fathers playing percussion followed by trumpet. The majority of participants who responded to the open-ended question (66%) stated that tone was the reason for their instrument preference. By addressing the gender stereotyping of instruments, music educators may lead students to have more successful and satisfying experiences as instrumental performers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Russell, Joshua A.
Commitee: Bond, Vanessa, Bray, Paige, Haston, Warren
School: University of Hartford
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Music education, Gender studies
Keywords: Band students, Gender, Instrument choice, Stereotype
Publication Number: 3700787
ISBN: 978-1-321-70889-9
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