Instrument, gender and musical style associations in young children

Nigel Marshall, Kagari Shibazaki

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Numerous studies have explored the relationship between musical instruments and their associations with a particular gender. This study focussed on the developing association between gender and musical instruments in young children and further explored the interaction between gender, instrument and musical style. The research was carried out on 65 participants aged three and four years old. Each participant took part in a short musical game which involved matching 14 musical excerpts with photographs of the individuals who might play the instruments represented within each excerpt. The research used a 2 (gender) × 2 (musical style) × 7 (instrument) factoral design in which a ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ instrument was featured playing in a ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ associated style. Our results suggested that prominent gender stereotypes for some instruments do appear to exist in very young children whilst in other instruments, gender associations appear to be also linked to the musical style in which they are represented and possibly the performance context in which they are experienced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-507
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2011

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