Friday 11 April 2008

New Research

Must be a quiet news day.

According to page 3 of today's Times there are serious gender probs in the world of instruments.

Girls play the flute and boys play the bass guitar.

Pupils get bullied for playing the 'wrong' instrument. The flute teacher at work said that boys at his all boys school used to make comments about his 'hand bag.' But he soldiered on and even plays the piccolo. What's that a purse, a clutch bag?

Anyway, towards the end of the article it stated that boys like instruments that you hit (we call them percussion instruments - too technical Huh?) and ones that require physical exertion.

This week I did a class performance thing on Gamelan and we added the orchestral gong in for a bit of authenticity. So a very good percussionist got to bong the gong. I like it because it gets louder after you've hit it. The class ended the lesson saying to the player,'Hit it as hard as you can.' I took the very heavy beater into protective custody at that point. (Clearly, my attempt to evoke the shimmering, meditative sounds of Indonesia, were OK up to a point, but we were now reverting to collective type and it was break time. Test things to their limit and in Music this means hard and loud.) Rank films are all very well, but the nasty metallic smack of a tam tam struck in anger is an experience I have no wish to visit on anyone. I could have cried when a pupil dropped some cymbals in front of me once. And people wonder why Music Teachers have nervous break downs? Not this one. Avoid percussion instruments, especially the metal ones.

Musical instruments are very different from each other. Men and women are different. I see lots of women and men playing all sorts of instruments in orchestras. No probs. It didn't say what level the players were at. Maybe if you excel, you aren't so bothered what other people think. You love your instrument and probably play in various groups where you are appreciated for the sound you make. Folks I know in orchestras, all we talk about is music. I don't know much else about them. We're happy.

Not many girls playing stuff at work. It's a boys school. Actually, often the only girl is the conductor. Me!

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