Posts Tagged ‘female drummer’

Gender stereotyping of instruments

This month’s feature is on the gender stereotyping of instruments and what it takes to cross the boundaries this sets.

Research on the gender stereotyping of instruments is a hot topic at the moment. Although we don’t necessarily mean to, we categorise musical instruments as being either male or female and this can lead to problems in music education and for people who choose to play a ‘cross gender’ instrument.

Studies on instrument gender have been carried out for many years now with results consistently showing the most ‘female’ instruments to be the violin, flute and clarinet and the most ‘male’ instruments to be trumpet, trombone and drums. Interestingly, research seems to show that young children do not have any perception of instrument gender or what is ‘appropriate’ for girls and boys to play and girls tend to play from a wider range of instruments than boys do.

The subject of instrument gender fascinates me. As a female drummer it has only ever really been the instrument’s perceived gender that has caused problems for me, not my own. When I started to play the drums at school, aged 10, I was the only girl to have drum lessons. I had a very supportive mother who encouraged me to play and also a fantastic drum teacher who made me feel gifted and special.

At school I had a small amount of negativity from boys who played the drums (which actually spurred me on to practice harder), while girls of my own age didn’t see it as unusual. This seems to be explained by the sense of gender that happens in a child’s development, which is often seen in boys before adolescence as avoiding behaviour and activities that go against gender stereotypes. This happens earlier on in the development of boys than girls and evidence found by Hill and Lynch in 1982 showed that at adolescence girls begin to separate themselves from behaviour that they see as masculine (remember this point because we’ll be coming back to it later).



History of female drummers

I’m Gemma Hill and I’m a female drummer on a mission to party with you. Get your streamers and party hats ready because we are going to celebrate the increasing role that female drummers are playing in contemporary music with six months of interviews and articles on major players and topics.

Since studying for the degree on drums at ACM, I’ve toured extensively with all girl band ‘Robots In Disguise’ (for more see This, as well as teaching, has given me a massive insight into the world of female musicians and I thought it was about time someone wrote about them.