Do personality and gender correlate to instrument choice in band, orchestra, and chorus? I chose my research question because I have interest in psychology and music. Also while in band and chorus classes, I have seen stereotypes all over and I wonder if they were real. If personality correlates with instrument choice, then people could have the best instrument chosen for their personality. Gender Correlation Gender definitely correlates to instrument choice. Gender stereotypes have a huge influence on the student instrument choice (Bayley 2000).
Woodwind instruments, besides the saxophone, and the violin considerably fit the top female biased instruments. On the other hand, masculine biased instruments tend to lean towards the brass, discluding the french horn, and percussion (Walker 2004, Chang 2007, Pratt 2009, Crowe 2010, Fortney 1993, Payne 2009). Contrastingly, french horn, saxophone, cornet, and the tenor horn all lack a gender majority (Hallam 2008, Payne 2009). Additionally, the least favorite choice for males, the flute, tends to stand as the favorite for females.
In the same way, the least favorite choice for females, the tuba, tends to stand as a top choice instrument for males (Crowe 2010, Fortney 1993, Payne 2009). Pratt’s study supports the masculinity of the brass and percussion by the presence of only four female percussionist and no female brass players. Correspondingly, Mihajlovski’s research indicates males have majority in the brass section by the attendance of zero female brass players. Moreover, Robinson’s data consists of a total of two percussionists, one trombonist, and two trumpeters in the female gender.
Only 8% of the females in Robinson’s data play brass or percussion instruments (Robinson 2011). Chang’s data shows the presence of the upper woodwind preference for females with her data conclusion of the females who play upper woodwinds consist of 77% of the total females in her study. Also, the males who play brass or percussion consist of majority of the males in Chang’s study (Chang 2007). On different note, females usually choose a larger variety of instruments than males do (Walker 2004). Contrastingly, other studies show females select more on the upper woodwind side and do not reach far out to the other instruments.
Additionally, Kelly concludes in his experiment about if third graders correlate certain timbres with a gender. Kelly’s experiment concludes clarinet as the most feminine timbre and the correlation of the gender stereotype in clarinet timbre may affect instrument choice (Eros 2008). Gender stereotypes show in ensembles as well as specific instruments. In the past, band, marching and band, males would dominate over 50%. Nowadays, females start to populate bands in schools from elementary through high schools more than the males.
Opposite of elementary through high schools, males have majority population in college bands. Pratt’s study on gender correlation to instrument selection supports Walker’s past research with more females overall in the middle through high schools in his area (Walker 2004). The problem with gender stereotypes lies in the fact of children who see the stereotypes and continue to implement them (Crowe 2010). The gender stereotypes in ensembles deteriorate over time if Walker’s research correctly shows the gender influence in ensembles. Personality Correlation
Personality correlates to instrument choice, but exceptions to the correlation do exist. Reardon uses the Myers Briggs Trait Indicator to show the influence of certain Myer Briggs traits on the ensemble choice. Unlike the Introvert-Extrovert dichotomy, the Thinking-Feeling dichotomy appears to almost have significance in ensemble choice with p=. 056. Intuition-Sensing and Judging-Perceiving dichotomies have no relation to ensemble choice. Reardon’s data shows a significant difference in the ensembles for the Introvert-Extrovert dichotomy.
To expand, choir students prefer extroversion, unlike orchestral students who prefer introversion. In the Introvert-Extrovert dichotomy, band and chorus have a slightly important significance with . 02. Surprisingly, Reardon found no momentous personality differences in any MBIT dichotomy with woodwinds and brass. In total, 43% of choir, 32% of band, and 22% of orchestra have the personality type ENFP. INFP stands as the second most frequent personality type in band at 15% and orchestra at 14%. ENFJ shows as the second most common personality type in choir at 13%.
Insignificant results show for correlation between instruments (Reardon 2009). Oboe, percussion, horn, and string players prefer Introversion, while saxophone and brass, besides horn, choose Extroversion (Payne 2009, Reardon 2009). Saxophone, cello, and trumpet go for Sensing. On the contrary, horn prefers Intuition. Horn, percussion, and trumpet show Thinking in MBIT, while pianists show Feeling in MBIT. Percussion and horn choose Judging and trumpet gos for Perceiving (Reardon 2009). Eysenck’s Big Five Personality Indicator indicates personality traits, like MBIT, but in a different way.
Eysenck’s Big Five Personality Indicator shows pianists have high anxiety, originality, emotional instability, and higher intelligence. String instrumentalists have originality, introversion, emotional instability, and anxiety. Woodwinds players have high originality, introversion, and anxiety. Lastly, brass players have high extraversion, conventionality, emotional stability, adjustment, and the lowest intelligence (Mihajlovski 2013). Kemp’s study says “Male professional musicians showed significant degree of low self-sentiment [while] the female sample displayed significant levels of dominance” (Kemp 1995, pg 38).
Reineke’s study and Chang’s research support the dominance in female instrumentalists. McAllister contradicts the personality difference in instrument selection for female instrumentalists (McAllister 1997). Timbre Correlation Timbre influences instrument selection. Robinson tests 59 students, 27 males and 32 females, to see their timbre preferences with 7 instruments (flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe/bassoon, trumpet, trombone/baritone/horn, and tuba) in Cohort One. 34 students, 58% total, show timbre preference towards one or two instruments. 4 students, of the 34, have one timbre they admire most.
The other 10 students,of the 34, prefer two timbres equally. The remainder of the 59 students or 42% of the students show no clear timbre preference. Robinson tests 68 students to see the timbre preference the students have in Cohort Two. 50% of the students have one timbre they select as their top choice. 16% of the students have two preferences and the rest have no selection. The students who have the one timbre preference choose the instrument timbre they prefer.
Also, in Fortney’s study 84% of both males and females show timbre affects the choice of what instrument they play (Fortney 1993). Contradicting the two other studies, Payne shows no correlation between timbre and instrument choice. Payne’s study displays only 26% of the participants have a match of the instrument they play to the timbre they prefer. 52% show no match to timbre correlation to the participant’s instrument choice (Payne 2009). Other Influences Other influences on instrument selection include culture, physicality to play the instrument correctly, parental influence, etc.
The culture of a student may affect instrument choice slightly. Physicality may have a large effect on instrument choice depending on your size. If a person who weighs 70 pounds and stands 4’ 4”, then a band director steers the person away from the tuba. Parental influence may or may not have an impact on instrument; parental influence depends on the strictness of a parent. Cost may stand as an issue for less fortunate musicians. For instance, a french horn costs much more than a clarinet, so if someone cannot afford a french horn, then the person may buy a clarinet due to the price difference.
Friends influence instrument selection, because kids care about the choices their friends make and most people select their instrument at younger ages (Bayley 2000). Conclusion Correlation between all topics show to have a range from small to large significance. The problem with the correlation lies in the fact of the outside forces may easily influence the results. For example, someone in past studies can select an instrument for a different reason than what reason the study examines. Overall, personality and gender influences the instrument choices of students.