Why are there more male musicians than female musicians?

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
If it's true (I do tend to agree but then who's counting heads?) then culture plays a big part. Girls are encouraged by society to like 'girly' things and playing an instrument is maybe a bit uncool.
 

MaryO

Platinum Member
I don't think it's a question of not wanting to play. I can't tell you how many times other women tell me that I'm doing something they've always wanted to learn to do...playing drums. I get this a lot with my motorcycle as well. So what keeps them from doing so? I don't know. Raising families, societal expectations, etc. I think a lot of women think you can't do these things and still appear feminine. Of course that's poppycock...I'm a pretty girly-girl and actually think that's part of the reason I like doing these things...I get to be feminine yet still one of the boys...best of both worlds :)

And since there's not a lot of female drummers, etc...most young girls don't have those role models to take after so they never go that direction. Kind of the same reason we don't have a lot of male teachers in elementary schools. Young boys don't see them so they don't have those mentors to model themselves after. It's a shame.

But I agree it is starting to turn around.

Of course it's not all bad. If I'm being totally honest...Part of the appeal for me is that it's not a female dominated area. I kind of like being a little unique so I guess I'm just selfish in that way...lol.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Great question, and I have no real idea why more females are not involved. Lets face it, playing guitar, bass, keys, brass or even drums, is not strength orientated. Also, it could hardly be classed as a particularly masculine pastime, in the full sense of the word.

I think a poll of females is the only way to come up with an answer.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Greater levels of testosterone tends to = greater levels of aggression

Hard to be passive and play an instrument.

...I think there are greater factors...such as early childhood parental expectation....and social circle effects...but if these are neutral, the I would think the more aggressive one is, the more likely they are to persue what they enjoy.(within reason, of course...)...which is the level of analysis you have to get to to observe gender effects.
 

BramVanroy

Senior Member
Maybe my town is an exception, but we do have a lot of female drummers/percussionists (young and old!). They are outnumbered by the masculine drummers, that's for sure, but they are relatively large in numbers.

That being said, I think it's mainly a sociological phenomenon. Boys are taught to play other instruments than girls, as it is with sports. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they are gender-strict (to a certain level).
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've wondered this myself.

With drums, I've had many women tell me the wanted to play drums, but their parents wouldn't let them for this or that reason. But that doesn't explain the lack of female guitar players.

And ok, self-fulfilling stereotypes might explain why there weren't many females 30-40 years ago. But with the success of the Runaways, Joan Jett, the Go-Gos, The Bangles, Vixen, and others, I would think that there was enough inspiration in the 70's and 80's that it would be far more evened out by now.
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
See this is why I asked, because I knew you guys would provide a much larger overview of the answers.

I'm still unclear about the general consensus here... If you took all the major instruments found in rock, jazz, country, blues, pop, and included all the orchestra instrument families, and added up the respective number of players by gender, do you think the numbers would be evenly split, or unevenly split?

Thanks for all the great answers. I don't really know what the real numbers would reveal but I'm guessing unevenly split favoring guys.
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
If you took all the major instruments found in rock, jazz, country, blues, pop, and included all the orchestra instrument families, and added up the respective number of players by gender, do you think the numbers would be evenly split, or unevenly split?
I repeat, I think it depends HOW you calculate the number of players. If it's in terms of people who pick up an instrument, I think it's largely 50/50, although there may be a slight male/female bias. But if you're looking at the genders of people who perform in public, I'd go for at least 70/30 male/female.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
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?
Probably for the same reasons there are more males in just about everything! Most fields of endeavor are male dominated.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I repeat, I think it depends HOW you calculate the number of players. If it's in terms of people who pick up an instrument, I think it's largely 50/50, although there may be a slight male/female bias. But if you're looking at the genders of people who perform in public, I'd go for at least 70/30 male/female.
Sorry Madge, yea, the numbers of pro and semi pro musicians who perform in public, parties included, would be a good way to sort them out.

Not anyone who picks it up. It has to go past there to the point of at least somewhat serious.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

All things that require single minded finesse in pursuit of the heights of excellence are more suited to the male psyche. Music, art, cooking, engineering etc

The female psyche is more attuned to multi tasking, multi dimensional awareness, the ability to keep many more balls in the air, as it were.

My deceptively simplistic explanation.

...

* and now, I'm sure Anon will demolish this theory to bits with a quip in the end about the number of balls in the air, and who they might belong to.

...
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
...All things that require single minded finesse in pursuit of the heights of excellence are more suited to the male psyche. Music, art, cooking, engineering etc

The female psyche is more attuned to multi tasking, multi dimensional awareness, the ability to keep many more balls in the air, as it were.

My deceptively simplistic explanation.
...
That's a bold statement Vin. Is that your opinion or is that based on something somewhere?

Doesn't sound right to me. Spatial tasks supposedly are easier for males. Music isn't a spatial task though. I'm thinking of Hiromi right now, what a master!
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
...

All things that require single minded finesse in pursuit of the heights of excellence are more suited to the male psyche. Music, art, cooking, engineering etc

The female psyche is more attuned to multi tasking, multi dimensional awareness, the ability to keep many more balls in the air, as it were.

My deceptively simplistic explanation.

...

* and now, I'm sure Anon will demolish this theory to bits with a quip in the end about the number of balls in the air, and who they might belong to.

...
:eek: - by this reasoning I am a bloke! And in addition to that, my husband is female!!
 

AZslim

Senior Member
The fact that fewer women are trying to make a living playing music proves they really are smarter than we are.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
* and now, I'm sure Anon will demolish this theory to bits with a quip in the end about the number of balls in the air, and who they might belong to.

...
Certainly not mine. They retired from flying some years ago ;)

I'm thinking of Hiromi right now, what a master!
Oh yes, that left hand would put any drummer to shame :)

:eek: - by this reasoning I am a bloke! And in addition to that, my husband is female!!
Having met both of you, I can confirm absolutely that you're not a bloke, & your husband has an unimpressive figure for a girl ;)

The fact that fewer women are trying to make a living playing music proves they really are smarter than we are.
Hahaha - true!
 

bigd

Silver Member
There are more males who are interested in playing in the club/bar scene then women. The legit gigs are much more equal. Most women aren't that interested in the recreational type gigs playing for drunks. Thant's just the truth.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Most women aren't that interested in the recreational type gigs playing for drunks. That's just the truth.
It is, D. Every women I've played in a bar band with has been a bit crazy. Hmm, come to think of it that applies to the guys as well ...

All things that require single minded finesse in pursuit of the heights of excellence are more suited to the male psyche. Music, art, cooking, engineering etc

The female psyche is more attuned to multi tasking, multi dimensional awareness, the ability to keep many more balls in the air, as it were.

My deceptively simplistic explanation.

...

* and now, I'm sure Anon will demolish this theory to bits with a quip in the end about the number of balls in the air, and who they might belong to.

...
I see. Some kind of reverse psychology pre-emptive strategy ... interesting *picture a large eye in a microscope at this point*

Thing is, how would you explain all the female vocalists single-mindedly pursuing excellence? Or all the women in orchestras and traditional / world music? (Not to mention the intrepid minority who ventured into rock).

As The D said, bars attract more men than women. It's far less likely that we'll run into drunken pests doing octopus impressions at cafes.

Again, lugging and instrument logistics play a role. Vocalists don't have to lug. The lug for violin, viola, flutes, oboe, piccolo, etc are the stuff of dreams for a drummer. Meanwhile, you'll still find more men than women playing the more physically demanding instruments like percussion, big bass and big brass. You will also find more men than women hauling large kits and Marshall stacks.
 
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