Piano Study and Gender Associations: A Query Into the Perceptions of Children Ages Five to Fourteen

Date of Award

Fall 12-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Music Education (MME)

Department

Music

DOI

10.25777/wmwt-rp74

Committee Director

Nancy K. Klein

Committee Member

Alfred S. Townsend

Committee Member

James W. Kosnik

Abstract

From its inception, male composers and performers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Cliburn, and Kempffhad dominated piano performance. Recent research suggests, however, that the piano has been designated with a feminine gender stereotype. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of public school children ages five to fourteen years old relative to gender association and piano study to determine if a gender stereotype existed and at what age, if any, the stereotype stabilized.

To achieve this purpose, two surveys were created and implemented by the researcher. The first survey was administered to 879 students in kindergarten through the eighth grade and asked, Who should take piano lessons, boys, boys and girls, or girls? The second survey was administered to 908 students in kindergarten through the eighth grade and asked, Who should not take piano lessons, boys, boys and girls, or girls? Several versions of each survey were used which placed the answer choices in different Likert-type patterns in an effort to avoid hierarchical bias.

The data from each school were compiled and sorted by survey question, grade level, and gender. Once sorted, the data were transformed to percentages and analyzed. The data suggested that piano lessons had a weak association with a feminine gender among boys in the third through eighth grades. This stereotype did not show a grade level at which it stabilized as it began developing in the second and third grades and continued to grow through the eighth grade. Piano lessons had a much stronger association with the feminine gender amongst girls in kindergarten through the eighth grade and did not appear to stabilize in any grade level within the scope of the study.

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.M87 W56 2008

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