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Are there 'boys' instruments and 'girls' instruments?

Let's get this straight right away, music is full of divisions. At first it seems a binary division; treble clef versus bass clef, and then before you know it you've hit Grade V theory (the difficult puberty stage of music) find out about transposing instruments, alto and tenor clefs and your all-hallowed Middle C is a harmonic chiming gently between learning to make beautiful music and fathoming all those pesky rules that try and tie it down...

 

In our shop we've limited our divisions to a certain extent to just brass versus woodwind. The way our shop is set out means that customers have a clear choice when they enter; are they veering to brass (ooh - you don't want to go that way!), or woodwind (we're much nicer). But then try explaining to non-musicians how that metal saxophone is indeed woodwind, and why you don't find a trumpet in a brass band... I digress... 

 

As a mother of a boy and a girl I'm used to debates of gender and equal opportunities; look at shoes, the terminology surrounding shoes, the colour and slogans on t-shirts etc. I can see both sides of the argument, so I've been wondering if children are being steered towards instruments by their gender rather than which they like the sound of? Would I naturally direct by son towards a noisy brass instrument and my daughter to a gentler woodwind? Are we swaying instruments for the reason that a heavier instrument has to be more suitable for a stronger person, and is a higher pitch instrument easier on the ear if you have a higher voice? (I obviously don't know the answers to these questions!). 

 

For parents who've had experience of playing music, I'm sure that most would encourage trying any instrument, and hopefully have a music department in their school to facilitate just that! Making musical does wonderful things to a child's brain, encourages positive social interaction, and expands from to toneless thinking (see what I did there?!).

 

I'm genuinely interested in this debate and would welcome your experience of this - Were you bullied perhaps by your musical choice? How did you choice of musical instrument empower you? Did you secretly always want to play the tuba etc.?! Which musicians inspire you? You can contact me and tell me your story...

 

P.S. I guarantee my 'musical agenda' won't be gender led, but by the instrument's size and my finances - some instruments are really expensive, and some are really large!  To that end if you or your child doesn't know what they'd like to play I'd encourage hiring an instrument, this delays a potentially large financial outlay and takes a lot of the pressure off the child, (and the parent too) while they're keen to experiment. You can find out more about our brilliant rental scheme below.

 

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