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Royal Albert Hall uncovers extreme gender bias towards classical musical instruments

Laura  Barnes
Royal Albert Hall uncovers extreme gender bias towards classical musical instruments

A new study conducted by the Royal Albert Hall has revealed what classical instruments the public think are more associated with a particular gender.

The concert hall spoke to 2,000 adults to ask them what instruments are most associated with men and women.

The results reveal extreme gender bias towards instruments. For example, only 2% of those surveyed associated the trumpet with women, only 3% thought that they would be likely to ever see a woman playing the French horn or the tuba, and only 3% thought the average trombonist would be female.

Lucy Noble, director of events at the Royal Albert Hall, commented that the gender bias displayed in the survey is something that she witnesses often within the orchestras that perform at the venue.
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“Brass sections within orchestras are always heavily male, equally the strings are generally women and that is because we, consciously or not, guide our children toward a ‘type’ of instrument… and it’s wrong,” she said.

“In a time when the ‘leader’ of the free-world is Donald Trump and it seems gender equality is teetering on the edge, we must do what little we can to ensure music and the arts more generally, is seen as accessible to all and without gender stereotyping.”

It’s not just women that are pushed into a certain direction when it comes to learning a classical instrument.

3% of the survey respondents thought men were likely to play the violin, and a mere 2% thought they would ever see a man playing the harp.

Here’s the breakdown of what instruments are most associated with what gender:

Top 5 instruments most associated with men:
– Trumpet
– Trombone
– Tube
– Horn
– Bassoon

Top 5 instruments most associated with women:
– Harp
– Violin
– Viola
– Flute
– Percussion

The survey comes ahead of a headline performance at the Royal Albert Hall by female trumpeter Alison Balsom (pictured) on March 12th.

The British musician has won three classical Brit awards and also has an OBE for service to music – proving that it is possible to go against the grain within classical music.

“I’m thrilled that despite the odds, this March, Alison Balsom is going to be headlining as a trumpeter at the premier live music venue in the UK,” said Noble.

Tags: royal albert hall , alison balsom , gender equality , classical instruments , gender bias

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