Volume 17 (June 2009)

Gender Research in Music Education

Volume 17 (June, 2009)

In this issue:

1. Note from the Editor, Glenda Cosenza
2. Message from GRIME International Co-Chair, Elizabeth Keathley
3. Message from Vince Bates, MENC Gender SRIG Chair and GRIME International Co-Chair
4. Research Reports
4:1. Website Updates, Susan Fleet
4:2. Report from Music Education Week in Washington, Sondra Wieland Howe
5. Conference Invitations
5:1 Gender SRIG Session Announcement:
5:2 MayDay Colloquium XXI

1. Letter from the Editor, Glenda Cosenza

Dear GRIME colleagues:

It is a pleasure to introduce myself. I am associate professor of music education at Northern Illinois University. I received my doctorate in music education from Temple University in 1996 and my dissertation, Medieval Music for Middle School Chorus, included a choral music preference test that resulted in significant differences in music preference by gender – a result so unexpected I had to redo my lit review entirely. At that time, very little research existed that showed gender differences in music preference possibly because the studies up to that time were focused on popular music preferences and not on choral music and they were from the field of psychology, not education. Regardless, it sparked my initial interest in gender research in music education. (I’m sure you are asking: well, WHAT did you find in your results?? In my study, boys–especially 6th grade boys–were more likely (p>.001) than the girls to prefer the medieval excerpt when it was played (this was a forced choice design – they heard pairs of excerpts and chose the one they preferred of the two). I worked with a professor in the Ed Psych program on the design and analysis so I know my result was real – for this study.

While my primary interest in gender research has been with regard to feminist issues and how they play out in our teaching and learning, my most recent study focused on how music and creative movement might help children in primary grades to develop an improved attitude to the task of writing (language arts). In that study, I again found a significant gender difference in that the pre- and post-test results showed that having children listen and move creatively to music just before asking them to write an essay or a story improves their focus, concentration and attitude, especially among boys with ADHD and ADD. My research is further confirmed in other studies that suggest boys especially need more movement in their daily classroom routines.

I feel rather passionate about this issue. Statistically, the percentage of men in the prison population who have documented learning disabilities is way beyond that of the “normal” population. Is our educational system, including music, set up in such way as to limit the chances for success among primary grade-aged boys? And if they fall behind in the lower grades, it may be difficult for some of them to catch up, especially those who are English Language Learners. Such academic problems may be serious indicators of social and emotional problems as well. One has to wonder what the implications of high dropout rates among some populations of males might be in terms of their treatment of and attitudes toward women later in life. I might be skating on thin ice in terms of research evidence, but I believe this is worth pursuing.

I hope you will all be in Anaheim and that we can meet in person! Meantime, I’m on Facebook and Twitter (glenza44) if any of you are inclined to “social networking”. Trying to stay current with my students and with their (current or future) students too!

Thanks to our Newsletter Contributors: Susan Fleet and Sandra Wieland Howe

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2. Message from GRIME International Co-Chair, Elizabeth Keathley

Dear colleagues,

It was good to see many of you at FTM10! It was really a wonderful experience for me to be able to channel Dolley Madison (Greensboro native and first lady famous for her hosting social events) during our conference. I wasn’t able to attend all papers and lecture recitals, but those I heard (or heard parts of) were top notch, and so were the concerts and keynotes!

It is crucial that we publicize events like this not only among ourselves, but also to the larger community of music scholars, perfomers, and musicians.

Therefore, I am calling upon you to volunteer to WRITE A REPORT OF FTM10 and submit it to the IAWM Journal, the GRIME Newsletter, and any journal or newsletter that would publish it (Women and Music, AMS, LGBTQ study group of AMS, SAM, SEM, SMT, etc.). This is the kind of thing that I often do myself, but it would be inappropriate under the circumstances.

I do want to keep a record of these, so if you are willing to WRITE A REPORT OF FTM10, please send me an e-mail to tell me who you are and where you will submit it.

My best regards to you all, and many, many thanks for making FTM10 such a success!

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3. Message from Vince Bates, MENC Gender SRIG Chair and GRIME International Co-Chair


I am looking forward to the 1st MENC Biennial National Conference on Research in Music Education and Music Teacher Education to be held in Anaheim, California on March 25-27, 2010. Liz Gould has graciously agreed to be our featured presenter at the Gender SRIG session. (The abstract for her research is included later in this newsletter.) This conference, of course, takes the place of the research portion of MENC’s general biennial conference.

Also, I am happy to welcome Glenda Consenza as chair-elect of the MENC Gender SRIG and I thank her for putting the newsletter together. I had not met Glenda until a few weeks ago during one of the poster sessions at the SMTE Conference at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. I stopped at a very interesting poster to ask some questions and, lo and behold, it was Glenda’s. We had a nice visit. She will become the SRIG chair and co-chair of GRIME International at or shortly after the Anaheim conference.

Finally, I am looking forward to Mayday Colloquium XXI in June, 2010. The topic is Ethics in Music Education and Nel Noddings will be the featured speaker (see Call for Papers later in this newsletter). This should be a wonderful opportunity for sharing research and lively discussion. I’m hoping to present a paper I’m currently working on: “Who’s Your Daddy? Strict Father Moralities in Music Education.”

On a personal note: I have learned so much from serving with GRIME. Even though my own research is headed in the direction of social class more than gender, I owe a lot in the way of perspective development to feminist researchers in music education. Thanks for the opportunity to serve, to Jill [Sullivan] and Kate [McKeage] for inviting and welcoming me and to Roberta [Lamb] and Liz [Gould] for being patient with me.

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4. Research Reports

4:1 Website Updates, Susan Fleet

Hi GRIME members,

Evelyn Glennie is now the Featured Woman on my website, the first percussionist ever to sustain a career as a soloist. She has commissioned 160 new compositions for percussion, and her performances are legendary, all the more amazing since Evelyn is profoundly deaf. You can read about her and hear her play at my website: http://www.susanfleet.com

Here’s a direct link to her biography

More exciting news! I have updated my Archives to include audio or video clips of my previously Featured Women. At http://archives.susanfleet.com you can listen to: jazz violinist Regina Carter; drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, flutist Doriot Anthony Dwyer; The International Sweethearts of Rhythm big band jazz pianist/big band leader Toshiko Akiyoshi; Marin Alsop conducting the Baltimore Symphony and the New York Philharmonic Trumpeter Edna White; jazz trombonist Melba Liston!

Although I have no clips for violinist Maud Powell and conductor Antonia Brico, you can still read about their extraordinary accomplishments in the Archives.

– Susan Fleet, trumpeter, novelist and music historian

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4:2 : Report from Music Education Week in Washington, Sondra Wieland Howe

Music Education Week in Washington
Sondra Wieland Howe

A Research Symposium of the MENC “Music Education Week in Washington” was held on June 20-21, 2009, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, with 12 papers and 27 posters. There was very little emphasis on gender issues.

Harold F. Abeles (Teachers College, Columbia University) presented a paper on “Factors Affecting Musical Instrument Selection and Continued Participation for Students Who Play Cross-Gendered Instruments.” Students were influenced by the same factors as musicians who choose to play instruments typical for their sex: sound of the instrument, shape and size, and parents’ recommendations. Factors encouraging students to continue included interactions with music professionals, determination despite negative comments, and a perception that participation built self-confidence. Students were less aware of instrument gender associations than their parents. Abeles has published an article, “Are Musical Instrument Gender Associations Changing?” in JRME (July 2009) in which he looks at studies of 1978, 1993, and 2007 to show little difference in sex-by-instrument distribution.

Sondra Wieland Howe (Independent Scholar, Minnesota) presented a paper on “Music Programs in Settlement Houses, 1889-1940″ describing Eleanor Smith’s Music School at Jane Addams’ Hull-House in Chicago and music programs in settlement houses in New York City and Minneapolis. Women were involved in these music schools which included “social music” for amateurs, music appreciation, and highly organized programs of individual music instruction, theory classes, and ensembles that trained professional musicians.

At the poster sessions, Janice N. Killian and Shauna Satrom (Texas Tech University) presented “Wind Instrument Preferences of Elementary Students Based on Demonstrator Gender” and Killianand John B. Wayman (Texas Tech University) presented a “Description of Vocal Development Among Male Adolescents Enrolled in Band or Choir” in which they described the speaking and singing voices of boys in grades 6-9, comparing band and choir members.

GRIME members should submit proposals for the MENC conference in Anaheim, California, on March 25-27, 2010. Deadline is February 1, 2010. See JRME (July 2009) for details.

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5. Conference Invitations

5:1. Gender SRIG Session Announcement:

1st MENC Biennial National Conference on Research in Music Education and Music Teacher Education
Anaheim, California
March 25-27, 2010

“Don’t Cry for Me, Gender Research: How Women Are (Not) Human”
Elizabeth Gould, University of Toronto

Description of Session: During the last United States presidential election campaign I screened the YouTube video, “Hockey Mama for Obama,” for my second year music education students. In the video a woman wearing a professional hockey team jersey sings “Don’t Speak for Me, Sarah Palin” to the tune of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.” We analyzed the Andrew Lloyd Webber song in terms of lyrics and musical arrangements as it was presented in the Palin spoof, Madonna’s performance in the movie Evita, and Sarah Brightman’s recording in another YouTube video that features historical photographs of Eva Perón. While the last version moved students to connect the song to the story of Perón’s life and death, several young women expressed dismay and disappointment when they realized that music they had previously enjoyed was not a love song but instead was ‘political.’ My suggestion that it was a love song to the people of Argentina did not ameliorate their concern. To my utter surprise, their distress that the song was not directed at a man soon turned to dislike, as they concluded they would never want to listen to it again.

These very same young women, however, are very excited about recent media attention to international social justice projects located in developing countries. Aimed specifically at women and girls, these projects supporting women’s rights are constructed in terms of human rights; hence they are ‘humanitarian’ rather than political – or worse, feminist. Nearly two decades after economist Amartya Sen (1990) concluded that 100,000,000 women around the globe are missing, the cover story of the August 23, 2009 issue of The New York Times Magazine finally argues, “Why Women’s Rights Are the Cause of Our Time” (Kristof and WuDunn, 2009). Similarly, the international anti-poverty organization CARE concludes that investing in women and girls is the single most effective means to enable people “to live in dignity and security” ( http://www.care.org/about/index.asp), while Plan, an international children’s development organization launches its international “Because I Am a Girl” campaign to respond to the disproportionate effects of poverty on “girls and young women” (http://plan-international.org/). Perhaps most notably, however, even the United Nations, infamous as an ‘old-boy-network,’ has committed to creating “a high-level agency to promote women’s rights, overcoming years of stonewalling, disinterest and opposition from the world body’s members” (Ward, Toronto Star, p. A15, 2 October, 2009).

It would be uncharitable, of course, to point out that feminist theorists for literally decades have advanced the argument that a world good for women is a world good for everyone. Similarly, it is redundant here to repeat that the purpose of gender research in music education always already is to create the feminist goal of a profession in which everyone thrives. Not content to merely reveal with gender research, we also critique, and then seek to help, contributing to the profession and everyone teaching and learning in it – which are the necessarily feminist values of gender research. With this presentation, I interrogate aspirations of the pragmatic “Women’s Human Rights” (Bunch and Frost, 2000/2009) movement and the current mantra, “Women’s rights are human rights,” in relationship to gender research in music education. Given that ‘human’ continues to be constructed in terms of the bourgeois subject (white, European, Christian, heterosexual, male), I argue that attempts to ‘humanize’ women’s rights, while laudable and perhaps helpful in the short term, has the effect of ‘masculinizing’ them, which is to say, constructs them in terms of the very asymmetrical power relations that enable oppression, thus negating possible long term benefits. Instead, gender research in music education seeks to displace the primacy of humanist values and assumptions, exploring potentialities for all of our students, colleagues, and communities.

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5:2 MayDay Colloquium XXI

Mayday Research Colloquium XXII
John J. Cali School of Music, Montclair State University
Montclair, NJ
June 17-20, 2010

“Music Education and Ethics: Theoretical and Practical Concerns”
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Nel Noddings, Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Emerita, Stanford University

Colloquium Co-Chairs:
Dr. Marissa Silverman, John J. Cali School of Music, Montclair State University: silvermanm@mail.montclair.edu
Dr. David J. Elliott, New York University: david.elliott@nyu.edu

Ethical concerns have regained a central place in contemporary educational theorizing. In contrast, ethical issues remain on the margins of contemporary music education philosophy and practice.Mayday Group Colloquium XXII seeks to stimulate new and needed reflections on all aspects of ethical thinking that can promote an applied ethics for music education, thus bringing ethical considerations to the fore in the decisions that teachers, researchers, and teacher educators face daily. For background articles on applied and normative ethics, click ‘Ethics’ in Links Menu.

Papers are invited that address the ethical nature, responsibilities, and/or implications of (for example):
· music curriculum development and curriculum theory
· music pedagogies at all levels of instruction
· music education materials (e.g., assumed to be neutral vs. ideologically biased)
· “standards,” accountability (e.g., students, society, the profession), assessment
· Action ideals and choices of music teachers (their implications for schooling generally, and for students, other teachers, the community, and the well-being of society)
· philosophies of music and music education
· critical pedagogy; critical theory; feminist theory (etc.)
· sociological theories of schooling as these influence music education (e.g., transmission of social status quo vs. social transformation; critical and conflict theories vs. functionalist theories)
· teaching and learning all forms of music making and listening (e.g., ethical aspects of performing, composing, listening, arranging, improvising)
· student recruitment (at all levels, including music teacher education); admission and acceptance requirements for university music and music teacher education programs; the organization of collegiate programs and content requirements
· community music (in all its variations; informal vs. formal learning, etc)
· “multicultural” musics and music education
· digital music technologies; electronic teaching-learning media; distance learning degrees
· coordination vs. competition (e.g., for students, resources) relative to different specialties and levels of music education
· students’ health, well-being (etc.) and, in general, the ethical injunction to “Do no harm.”
· music education research (e.g., ethical issues of research topic selection, research methods, dissertation advisement, ideological implications of publication)

Proposals of 750 words should be sent to Dr. David Elliott at david.elliott@nyu.edu by December 15, 2009. Proposals should state how and to what degree the proposed paper specifically addresses the ethics focus of the author’s particular topic.

Papers are limited to 4500 words. To provide opportunities for dialogue, papers should be formally presented and strictly limited to 30 minutes. Also, it is useful to keep in mind that (in addition to being academic presentations) MDG Colloquia papers are intended as catalysts for critical thinking and discussion.

Submissions should be formatted as Word documents and sent as e-mail attachments. Please state your name, affiliation, email address, and contact information in the body of the email only.

Note: The Mayday Group journal, Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, is planning a special issue on ethics in music education. Colloquium contributors are encouraged to submit expanded versions of their Colloquium papers for potential publication in this special issue. The submission deadline for this special ACT issue is April 1, 2010. For further information, please contact Carlos Rodriguez, Assistant Editor of ACT: rodriguez@arts.usf.edu

Symposium Site: John J. Cali School of Music, Montclair State University. http://www.musicmontclair.com/ – MSU is located 14 miles from New York City (which is easily accessible by car, bus, and rail) and 12 miles from Newark, NJ. The city of Montclair offers a wide range of accommodations close to the site of the symposium. Detailed information about symposium registration, lodging, and travel will be posted shortly.

Registration, Hotels, Transportation: Information and updates on these and related topics will be updated regularly on this website.