Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Girls Playing Instruments

Hey There!
How is everyone on this lovely fall day? Hopefully you find yourselves a chance to get out for a walk today because the weather is pretty decent for once! So I'm sitting here in my music & gender class and we're discussing women playing instruments. This lecture has got me thinking that I may be a bit of an oddball! 

First off, how many of you can name a popular female lead guitarist? Its not an easy task. I mean, I am familiar with a lot of bands, sure. Ask me to come up with the names of well known male guitarists and my list would be pages long... women? Maybe a list of 15 or so? Not even. 

Back in high school, I dabbled in a variety of instruments. I tried a few on for size... primarily: singing, guitar, bass, flute. This is what makes me think that I'm a little strange haha. I play the stereotypical girl instrument, the flute AND the stereotypical male instrument, the guitar. This discussion makes a valid point that women tend to stay away from "rock" instruments until we reach a certain age, and 14 is not that age. Women are apparently supposed to be impressed by guys who rock the guitar, not pick it up themselves. It wasn't "natural".

Now times are definitely changing, and social norms are not so set in stone. I was never really persecuted for my love of the guitar... just asked if I was in the right class or the right section of the store a few times. Harmless really, but frustrating. One of my best friends is a female drummer and I don't even give it a second thought. 
But here's the point...

Girls, pick up those instruments and play them proudly! Don't let yourself be fooled into the old idea that women should only play the flute (although you know what, credit to flute players because it is NOT easy) or the violin. Instead of allowing yourselves to swoon over the guy serenading you with an acoustic living room rendition of Iris, pick up that guitar yourself and pick up a guy! Make him the one swoon over you, its a lot more fun that way!

So have times really changed? How about the rise of women in indie music? What are your thoughts on instrument and gender related stereotypes?
Rock On!
- Girl At The Rock Show

Song of the Day: Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard... Ipod was on shuffle the other day and I was reminded of my love for this song. It was a favorite a few years ago around the time I started playing I guess. Also kind of fits the blog topic because there is a male violinist in the band, which is typically socially stereotyped as a girly instrument.

*NOTE: I do not personally believe in the idea of men and women only being able to play certain instruments, I dont think instruments should be gendered, so please don't be offended and take this the wrong way :)*


  1. i loved this post.
    its so true, i mean, myself as a female who plays the drums can relate.
    its messed up how guys can play whatever they want and it kind of goes unnoticed, but anytime (especially guys) someone finds out i play the drums its taken shockingly.
    some super talented females have and are continuing to breakthrough in the indie scene these days-- and I LOVE IT.
    check out my post on Tegan and Sara!

  2. Thanks Jess! You were the one I was refering to about the drums but I'm sure you knew that haha. I couldnt agree more though. I know when I took guitar class in high school, I was one of two girls... and the other girl joined late. So day one, all the guys in the class just looked at me, and kept asking me if I was in the right room or if I needed directions. Its silly. But yeah, I've definitely noticed Indie music seems to by pass these society norms and allow girls to play instruments with the best of them. Still a ways left to go before it can be seen as normal, but at least I feel like there is progress being made. Thanks again for the comment!