Why are there more male musicians than female musicians?

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It seems like more males play instruments than females, by a large margin. I'm not talking strictly drumming here, all instruments. I wonder why that is. Not counting singing though. No matter what instrument you pick, it seems like male players outnumber female players by a substantial margin.

I have no opinions on why that is. Maybe males are happier figuring out how to do it instead of simply enjoying it? I don't understand the imbalance. Surely music touches people on a similar level, gender notwithstanding. So why do more males play instruments?
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
My observations differ from your observations, Larry. When I was studying, in my department I would say the female musicians outnumbered the males. On the technology course, many more males than females. The orchestras I've recorded and watched tend to be relatively even but definitely more female.

All told, it's probably a relatively even split but depends on the instrument. Female bassists, guitarists and drummers are uncommon but female flautists, violinists and clarinet players are quite common. In my view, this has to do with self-fulfilling stereotypes.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Because, just because, thats all :)
That is a question that the girls should answer.
We have three or four of them here who should be able to come up with something to enlighten us.
 

Jonny Sumo

Senior Member
cos its difficult to play an instrument in the kitchen??
only teasing before our female colleagues lynch me...IMHO I think its because there is still not equality in the world. How many times do we see 'wow, you're really good at that...for a girl'??
Shouldn't matter whether m or f, but the f's need to work twice as hard in music to be accepted...just my opinion of course...
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
In my view, this has to do with self-fulfilling stereotypes.
For sure., Duncan Going the legit course is more "ladylike". To sit there primly in a nice gown piping demure tones from their little flutes. That's not my scene, although I'm wildly jealous about the lugging.

Lugging also has a lot to do with it - for both stereotypical and physical reasons. For instrumentalists there is so much more physicality in rock and pop than in the orchestral scene - the lugging and the performance (not to mention ferals in the audience). As a rule, the more intensely physically demanding the occupation the more males there will be, exceptions being dance, Zumba and prostitution.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I think that Grea summed it up.
Playing musical instruments places physical demands on a person.
Not just the lugging of gear but the wear and tear on the fingers of a guitar player for example can detour people from playing the instrument.
I guess that many woman would rather have long finger nails and soft fingers :)
All of the woman that I play in bands with sing, or they play instruments like the sax and flute and the mandolin, or the acoustic guitar.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
You kill me, Grea! One of the most astute people I've ever come across!
I'm only astute after my morning smoke. A brief window of magical meditation where the nature of the universe and reality becomes just a little clearer, and my river of thought flows lucidly towards any destination I choose. After the brief golden period I'm as thick as pig droppings :)
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I'm only astute after my morning smoke. A brief window of magical meditation where the nature of the universe and reality becomes just a little clearer, and my river of thought flows lucidly towards any destination I choose. After the brief golden period I'm as thick as pig droppings :)
At least you have your moment.
 

Souljacker

Silver Member
All told, it's probably a relatively even split but depends on the instrument. Female bassists, guitarists and drummers are uncommon but female flautists, violinists and clarinet players are quite common. In my view, this has to do with self-fulfilling stereotypes.
Agree with these demographics. In the orchestra last year, violinists were all female, one male flautist well outnumbered by females 1:5. A female majority on the clarinet side. Fairly even split overall, probably more females.
 

Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
The funny thing is that the number of women involved in drumming within popular genres and the public eye is steadily increasing. I don't think we'd find as many Cindy Blackman-Sanatas or Meg Whites or Shiela E.s in the sixties, seventies, even into the nineties. In drum corps two years ago there were two girls on Phantom Regiment's snare line, and this past year their center was one of those girls. This year the Blue Devils have their first female center snare in their entire history as a corps. One of Adams' leading marimba endorsers is a japanese woman, and there are plenty more female keys players.

And of course everyone has mentioned the girl flute players. I see a lot of female wind and string players, and in my opinion the demographic is pretty evenly split. Seems our section is the last to the party.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
In my family, women who play an instrument outweigh men who play an instrument. Almost all of them play the piano minus my 3 sisters, who play clarinet, drums, and guitar. While there are many men in my family who do play an instrument, the majority of them play sports.
 

porter

Platinum Member
cos its difficult to play an instrument in the kitchen??
I appreciate the rest of the post, but this kind of thing is never funny in any context.

I think the higher ratio of female 'classical' musicians and male 'rock' musicians is partially self-fulfilling stereotype like Duncan suggested, possibly also some gender role reinforcement by traditional parents. Flutes, clarinets, smaller wind instruments are generally seen as more feminine (dainty) by people who choose to see objects as gender charged, while bigger or louder instruments (drums, low brass, guitars) are more masculinely viewed. There's also the thing where guys with guitars seem to think that they've unlocked a secret door to the Woman Heart by being able to play guitar.
 

keepitgreen

Senior Member
I think that Grea summed it up.
Playing musical instruments places physical demands on a person.
Not just the lugging of gear but the wear and tear on the fingers of a guitar player for example can detour people from playing the instrument.
I guess that many woman would rather have long finger nails and soft fingers :)
All of the woman that I play in bands with sing, or they play instruments like the sax and flute and the mandolin, or the acoustic guitar.
^This...

It brings a memory of a gig we played last year, where the rhythm guitarist in my band split a fingertip in the middle of the set, but kept going... He was playing a white Ibanez at the time, and by the end of the set, the ENTIRE GUITAR was spotted with blood. It was one of the most awesomely gruesome sights I've seen. I've got pics if anyone would like?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
^This...

It brings a memory of a gig we played last year, where the rhythm guitarist in my band split a fingertip in the middle of the set, but kept going... He was playing a white Ibanez at the time, and by the end of the set, the ENTIRE GUITAR was spotted with blood. It was one of the most awesomely gruesome sights I've seen. I've got pics if anyone would like?
I wanna see them..........
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Seems pretty evenly split to me :) http://www.wimp.com/thatvoice/

Yolanda Charles posted this, & I'm loving it :) :) :)

As others have pointed out, depends on the instrument, & also the setting. For example, the gender split of music teachers in schools?
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
I guess that many woman would rather have long finger nails and soft fingers :)
Not in my world! Maybe men would like us to have long fingernails and soft hands, but some of us enjoy pushing wheelbarrows full of horse-droppings.

In answer to the question, I think it's largely a question of the glass ceiling. There are probably as many female musicians as male but they may not be the ones who are visibly successful. In the UK, there are more female schoolteachers than male, yet there are more male head teachers than female, and if I'm not mistaken, the head (or whatever you call it) of the Royal College of Nursing - a female-dominated industry - is male.
 
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