A response to Elizabeth Gould, "The Nomadic Turn: epistemology, experience and women college band eirectors"

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Date: Fall 2005
From: Philosophy of Music Education Review(Vol. 13, Issue 2)
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,796 words
Lexile Measure: 1820L

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I want to thank Elizabeth Gould for providing us with a thought-provoking paper examining the journeys of women college band directors through a post-modernist and feminist perspective. As a music education professor who deals with students from undergraduate through doctoral levels, I have the opportunity to provide professional guidance to many students, both female and male. A number of my female instrumental music education students ask me about becoming high school and college band directors. I want to be honest with them about the realities of the profession, but I want also to encourage them to pursue their professional dreams and goals despite any potential structural limitations. I found this paper to provide me with very good insights that I can use to advise my students.

According to Gould, there are a number of factors that contribute to the under-representation of women in the field of college band directing. For example, we can see that historically the first band directors and instrumental music educators came either from military or professional performance backgrounds and as a result, most instrumental music teachers were initially male. In addition, early college band organizations, particularly marching musical organizations, were entirely male in composition. While these conditions have not continued to the present day, they set the stage for what was to follow.


The different socialization of girls and boys may also be found to play a role in the under-representation of women as college band directors. A number of researchers have found gender differences in instrument selection, (1) and other research points to additional familial socialization differences by gender. (2)

According to Paul Woodford, (3) the primary socialization of music education majors and the formation of a music teacher's identity occur during their own pre-collegiate schooling. Several researchers have suggested that precollegiate teaching experiences may be influential in decisions to choose music teaching as a career. (4) Through countless hours of observation in their own programs, female and male students may be socialized to professional expectations of band directing before they ever enter a university-based instrumental music education program. Sylvia Tibbets, Winifred Shepard and David Hess, Stan Albrecht, Philip Griswold, and Denise Chroback all found that instrumental music teaching was viewed by both children and adults as a masculine profession. (5) Woodford found that many of our current teacher education programs merely recreate existing practices, thus replicating inequitable situations in regards to opportunities for women in the profession of high school and college band directing. (6)

After graduation, the outcome of a gender-influenced instrument choice may be inhibiting the career aspirations of future women band directors. Research by Barry Kopetz examined the influences of gender, school type, and...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A145792763