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One of the Guys

AMY LOUDIN • HONORS PROGRAM IN SOCIOLOGY [email protected] GENDERED MUSICAL MEANING ONE OF THE GUYS METHODS DISCUSSION I conducted two small (4-6 member) focus groups, one of female music students and one of male music music students. Each group was played two similar pieces, one by a male composer and one THE REPRODUCTION AND NEGOTIOATION OF GENDER IN THE SCHOOL OF MUSIC by a female composer. The students were asked to discuss each piece among themselves at the conclusion of each piece. In a recent conversation with one of the jazz faculty members interested in this project, I was As John W. Meyer argues in "The Effects of Education as an Institution," the function of higher education is both construct or asked, "So should we see RESULTS alter roles in society and allocate people to these roles. He contends that the university is not merely a socializing institution of GG gender?" This question gets at the heart of my investigation. our society that initiates students into the norms and customs of their future professions; the university also affects whole populations by creating elites and redefining the rights, privileges, and realities of members. In other words, the institution of education has This question really asks, the power to transform the broader society. This drove my fascination with the GMU School of Music. As Lucy Green would • The young men were more influenced • The young women spoke about music should we see difference? suggest, the School of Music can be viewed as a microcosm of the musical world, recreating and reinforcing practices and traditions in music; yet it also holds the transformational power that Meyer describes. So, while the School of Music currently reproduces a Should we see same-ness? I be- reminiscently while the young men spoke about it technically. by the extramusical factors when speak- ing of music. lieve the answer to all of these system of gender inequality found in the professional musical world, it also has the potential to alter this system. Through Lucy questions is a resounding YES. Yes, we should see and recog- Green's framework in Music, Gender, Education, I designed my research questions: How are gendered musical practices and gendered musical meanings reproduced at Mason? How is musical meaning influenced by gender? How does the female musical "Well, she's pissed about something." "It reminded me of what would be playing in the opening credits of an old movie." nize gender. So, yes, we need to experience differ by pursuit? Through answering these questions, I hope to both expand an understanding of gender issues in "It was really aggressive. I'm not going see difference in the form of rec- the field of music education and to offer solutions to combat these issues. to attribute it to, 'Oh, a woman wrote it, "It reminds me of 'Night on Bald Mountain." ognition. And yes, we need to so it shouldn't be aggressive.' But that see same-ness in the sense that we need to make no distinction "I liked the countermelody. The winds paired with the strings in the first couple sections. The section with the harp was kind was the first thing that I noticed." between students' potential abili- ties or make value-judgements "I don't want to say this in a bad way, GENDERED MUSICAL PRACTICES but she's a woman." of cool, texturally. It gave a certain effect." that alienate women's historical and current contributions to לל music. METHODS So what should be done? Lucy Green offers a series of interven- tion strategies that she proposes for music educators. While they GENDERED STUDENT EXPERIENCE were intended for educators in at the grade-school level, I be- lieve that many of her solutions would also be effective at the col- METHODS legiate level. First, an inspection of the role of the classical canon would open a discussion among I conducted eight interviews with current female music students at the undergraduate and I did a qualitative analysis of student recital posters. I analyzed the faculty's biographies I analyzed the concert programs available on the School of Music website to quantify the gendered distribution of composers, conductors, especially orches- and counted how often men and graduate levels. Four of my interviewees were pursuing traditionally feminine musical practices, tral conductors, about what, such as flute playing or singing, while the other four were pursuing traditionally masculine mu- sical practices, such as conducting or playing a brass instrument. All interviewees were asked women were "name-dropped." aside from tradition, qualifies a conductors, arrangers, and soloists. composer or piece to enter the the same questions about their musical histories, influences, motivations, and aspirations. canon. This discussion would inevitably lead to an expansion RESULTS of the canon to include women. RESULTS GG Next, a focus on providing role models of both genders in every area of music education would Women are underrepresented on the Women's musical performance is Women are well-represented as highly sexualized in recital and concert advertising. provide the support that both young men and young women need to be successful. Finally faculty and are not valued as highly as soloists, but are strikingly • Female role models were critical for both traditional and nontraditional female musicians. underrepresented as clinicians, conductors, and composers. men in their areas. "[My very first teacher] was my neighbor and she was amazing... She's basically my inspiration to continue with music." and most importantly, educators should develop a sensitivity to no IMAGE OF PERFORMER . "ACTION" IMAGE • LOOKING AT CAMERA • WITH INSTRUMENT • HUMOROUS • The women breaking gender norms were super-aware of their gender and brought up gender issues without being asked. * LOOKING OVER SHOULDER • LOOKING DOWD * BARE SHOULDERS • CLEAVAGE • SERIOUS % FEMALE FACULTY BAND CHORAL ORCHESTRAL JAZZ ALL the symbolic power of music. Because musical meaning is NAME DROPPING % WOMEN 188% COMPOSITION "There were a lot of male percussionists. It's a male dominated [instrument], so they put me drawn both from the music PERCUSSION on bells." itself and from extramusical BRASS factors, such as perceptions JAZZ • The professional and personal aspirations of young women pursuing traditionally feminine musical pursuits were much more aligned than the young women pursuing nontraditional CONDUCTING about the genre of music, the gender of the performer or com- poser, or the performance ENSEMBLES 58% THEORY & AURAL MUSIC ED careers. "Hopefully by the time I'm 40 I will have a symphony orchestra and will have my doctorate... STRINGS venue, educators should strive HISTORY & LIT. Maybe married, I don't know. I don't want to think about that right now." to be knowledgeable about their prejudices and work to eradi- WOODWINDS VOICE SCENIC 8% KEYBOARD BACKGROUNDS CLINICIANS CONDUCTORS COMPOSERS SOLOISTS cate them from the curriculum. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS REFERENCES GEORGE I would like to thank my research advisor, Dr. Nancy Hanrahan, for her endless encouragement and enthusiastic support. I am also indebted to to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology for encouraging me to pursue an honors project. I would also like to thank the anonymous interviewees and foous group participants for donating their time and sharing their stories. Thank you also to Courtney Leonard for assisting me in the design of this poster and for being my "audience" whenever I needed one. Green, Lucy. Music, gender, education. Cambridge University Press, 1997. Johnson, Allan G. Privilege, power, and difference. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2001. Meyer, John w. "The effects of education as an institution." American journal of Sociology (1977): 55-77. MASON UNIVERSITY Amg

One of the Guys

shared by courtneyleonard on Jul 23
Amy Loudin, a recent graduate of GMU, spent her senior year performing field research on the George Mason School of Music. Her focus was on the gender gap specifically regarding performance advertisin...


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