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#1674880 - 05/10/11 07:59 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Kevin,

Have you noticed the male/female ratio in universities these days. I don't think we have to worry seriously that western society as a whole is steering girls into submissive dead-end lives via overt role programming. Actually, I worry more that society is increasingly limiting its boys' opportunities as our schools increasingly emphasize the virtues of cooperation, diligence, sitting still, and turning in reams of process homework in order to accumulate the teacher kudos that are the entry ticket into selective universities. But that's another story.
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#1674881 - 05/10/11 07:59 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
danshure Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
Gender issues aside, I think it should be noted that the fact that TDOW created a product, and saw this process from beginning to end, deserves positive recognition.

I certainly haven't been able to yet create a product from beginning to end (although I'd like to) - but the steps this takes, from the idea, to the drafting, to the pricing of production, to the distribution - setting all this stuff up is no easy task, and takes a good deal of commitment.

Anyone who creates a product, and puts themselves out there on the line like that, is taking a risk, stepping out of the box

Its really easy to criticize this type of thing, but everyone forgets the effort and dedication this takes.

I commend them for taking the chance, and seeing the task through to the end!
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#1674895 - 05/10/11 08:22 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Piano*Dad]
kevinb Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Kevin,
Have you noticed the male/female ratio in universities these days. I don't think we have to worry seriously that western society as a whole is steering girls into submissive dead-end lives via overt role programming.


In what discipline? It's pretty hard work to recruit women for maths, engineering, and physical sciences. You can sell computing to prospective women students if you call it something non-threatening like 'IT'. But one whiff of an equation and suddenly you've got a roomful of men. There's reasonable parity in medicine and law (in the UK, anyway). But that's been the case for at least 20 years (again, in my experience).

I think we've increased women's participation in higher education in the last 20 years by expanding higher education provision to include more liberal arts and 'soft' sciences. I'm not suggesting for a moment that this is a bad thing. But this 'subject segregation' does worry me a little. Many of the liberal arts courses I've looked at don't seem to demand a huge amount of intellectual rigour (OK, of course I'm generalising), so I wonder if we're offering something to women students that is as of much value to them as the subjects that men favour?

Quote:

Actually, I worry more that society is increasingly limiting its boys' opportunities as our schools increasingly emphasize the virtues of cooperation, diligence, sitting still, and turning in reams of process homework in order to accumulate the teacher kudos that are the entry ticket into selective universities. But that's another story.


Actually that concerns me also, as I said in a previous post. And many other educationalists in the UK. But the issues here are complex and hard to disentangle.

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#1674917 - 05/10/11 08:56 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Piano*Dad Offline
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In the US, even the higher tech disciplines have shown a big trend toward gender parity. Sure, physics, engineering, math and economics tend to be majority male, but even there the ratios have been changing. And these changes seem endogenous -- driven by student choices -- rather than by external pressures from the top.

If you say "soft" humanities disciplines like history are not rigorous, don't say it too loudly around my historian colleagues. smile

I'm pretty far OT .... sorry. My fault.
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#1674946 - 05/10/11 09:31 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Piano*Dad]
MegumiNoda Offline
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Registered: 05/31/09
Posts: 203
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
In the US, even the higher tech disciplines have shown a big trend toward gender parity. Sure, physics, engineering, math and economics tend to be majority male, but even there the ratios have been changing.


That may be partially true. My impression is that the ratio in math is moving closer to parity (http://www.springerlink.com/content/h48474524196u04v/ though this seems to be from 2002, so a little outdated). In computer science, however, there isn't as clear a trend as one might have liked (http://archive.cra.org/info/taulbee/women.html).


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#1674949 - 05/10/11 09:35 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Piano*Dad]
kevinb Offline
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Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
In the US, even the higher tech disciplines have shown a big trend toward gender parity. Sure, physics, engineering, math and economics tend to be majority male, but even there the ratios have been changing. And these changes seem endogenous -- driven by student choices -- rather than by external pressures from the top.

If you say "soft" humanities disciplines like history are not rigorous, don't say it too loudly around my historian colleagues. smile

I'm pretty far OT .... sorry. My fault.


At least as much mine smile

And before I get shot down in flames by historians, I'm not suggesting for a moment that humanities and liberal arts cannot be intellectually rigourous. Of course they can be, and often are. 'Greats' is still highly-regarded smile

No UK university that I know of has expanded its maths or engineering provision in the last ten years or so. But liberal arts provision has hugely expanded, and in a very short time.

I'm not convinced that these new courses are properly planned or developed, and I know from experience that they are often oversubscribed.

In the UK, at least, you couldn't run courses on engineering, medicine, law, or teaching along those lines, because the respective professional bodies would simply not recognize them, and this would blast graduates carreer prospects. But you can offer badly planned, oversubscribed liberal arts courses because, on the whole, there are no unified standards bodies for those subjects.

None of this is meant to suggest that the problem is endemic in the subjects themselves.

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#1674952 - 05/10/11 09:41 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: kevinb]
MegumiNoda Offline
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Registered: 05/31/09
Posts: 203
Originally Posted By: kevinb

It's pretty hard work to recruit women for maths, engineering, and physical sciences. You can sell computing to prospective women students if you call it something non-threatening like 'IT'. But one whiff of an equation and suddenly you've got a roomful of men.


This is now O/T from where we started from, but I don't think the problem of the gender gap in those areas is because today's young women finds computing and equations "threatening" (at least, no more so than the guys), The ratio is not bad in higher math, biology, or chemistry, and they all involve equations.

At least in the US, there has been a lot of efforts in recruiting women in historically male-dominant areas such as engineering and computer science. Many attempts were well-meaning, well-intended, but ended up being not well-received. They come across as condescending, and they somehow lack the "street-creds" needed to convince the target audience. So to bring it back to the original thesis, this is one of the reasons why I think it's challenging to prepare gender-specific teaching materials.


Edited by MegumiNoda (05/10/11 09:56 AM)

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#1674960 - 05/10/11 09:56 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: kevinb]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: kevinb

No UK university that I know of has expanded its maths or engineering provision in the last ten years or so. But liberal arts provision has hugely expanded, and in a very short time.

I'm not convinced that these new courses are properly planned or developed, and I know from experience that they are often oversubscribed.


With the new fees structure, public attitude will soon change from "University entitlement for all!" to "Do you REALLY need a 3-year course?" :-) The lable "Degree" has enormously devalued anyway, as have many other academic qualifications.

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#1674962 - 05/10/11 10:00 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Hey, if you folks in the UK want to understand the trajectory of your higher education system, perhaps you need to read this book reviewed in the Times Higher Ed supplement:

Times Higher Ed review

.
.
.
.
grin
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#1674964 - 05/10/11 10:02 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
kevinb Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: MegumiNoda
Originally Posted By: kevinb

It's pretty hard work to recruit women for maths, engineering, and physical sciences. You can sell computing to prospective women students if you call it something non-threatening like 'IT'. But one whiff of an equation and suddenly you've got a roomful of men.


This is now O/T from where we started from, but I don't think the problem of the gender gap in those areas is because today's young women finds computing and equations "threatening."



Everybody finds equations threatening. smile I find equations threatening and my PhD thesis contained little else. The mathmetician Roger Penrose says that textbooks sales reduce 50% for each equation (of course, that's slightly tongue-in-cheek).

I'm not suggesting for a moment that female students find math _more_ threatening than male students do. But I do wonder if there is something in their early educational experience that makes boys more willing to suck this stuff up than it does girls?

Or maybe it's that well-meaning parents are more willing to endure the pain of hammering math into their sons' heads than their daughters'?

I don't know really. What I do know is that, in the most highly-regarded UK universtities, math, computer science and physical sciences remain almost exclusively male, while most other subjects are about equal.

I wonder if 'piano book for boys' is in any way comparable to 'differential calculus for girls' ? wink


Edited by kevinb (05/10/11 10:39 AM)

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#1674966 - 05/10/11 10:07 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
kevinb Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
As an aside -- but I hope slightly more on-topic...

On of the projects I've toyed with for some years is to write a high-school-level physics textbook based on the principles of steam locomotives. Everybody likes steam trains, right? A huge amount of the physics syllabus could be covered with reference to what goes on in a loco -- power, energy, gas laws, friction, mechanics, etc. They're not fast enough to get relativity in, but you can't have everything. My gut feeling is that relating physical principles to something big and bold that everybody can understand could be an interesting approach, rather than the abstraction that is currently favoured.

The problem is that teachers and publishers don't seem very keen because it's 'for boys'.

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#1674970 - 05/10/11 10:14 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Would it be a calculus-based approach?
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#1674975 - 05/10/11 10:19 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Piano*Dad]
kevinb Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Would it be a calculus-based approach?


I was really thinking of 11-14 year olds. There's really no significant calculus in the UK math or physics syllabus until 16+.

Interesting idea, though... acceleration, power... rate of change of temperature... You can explain anything with a chuff-chuff smile

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#1674976 - 05/10/11 10:22 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: kevinb]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: kevinb
I'm not suggesting for a moment that female students find math _more_ threatening than male students do. But I do wonder if there is something in their early educational experience that makes boys more willing to suck this stuff up than it does girls?

Or maybe it's that well-meaning parents are more willing to endure the pain of hammering math into their sons' heads than their daughters'?


Is it completely Politically Unacceptable that there might be ANY inherent differences between the sexes? Might we do a disservice by trying to compensate them out of existence, as previous generations tried to "correct" left-handedness?

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#1674977 - 05/10/11 10:24 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Piano*Dad Offline
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You have me confused. It's all that "separated by a common language" stuff. In the US, eleven year olds aren't in "high school." That's for 14-17 year old students, and the more technically qualified of that group have studied calculus.
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#1674978 - 05/10/11 10:25 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: kevinb]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: kevinb
You can explain anything with a chuff-chuff smile


http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=chuff

:-)

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#1674979 - 05/10/11 10:25 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: kevinb]
MegumiNoda Offline
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Registered: 05/31/09
Posts: 203
Originally Posted By: kevinb

I'm not suggesting for a moment that female students find math _more_ threatening than male students do.

OK. Yeah, right after I posted my previous entry, I went back and edited the phrasing. So we're vehemently agreeing :-)

Originally Posted By: kevinb

But I do wonder if there is something in their early educational experience that makes boys more willing to suck this stuff up than it does girls?

That's the million dollar question. There's a lot of studies, but nothing conclusive.

Originally Posted By: kevinb

I wonder if 'piano book for boys' is in any way comparable to 'differential calculus for girls' ? wink

Oh, don't you worry. It's already been marketed (see, for example: http://www.mathdoesntsuck.com/). My personal view is that they are condescending and irritating (and arguably worse than piano books for boys).

p.s. Kevin, would you mind going back to your previous post and fix the quote tags? You're missing a slash before the final "[quote]," so it currently looks like I said what you wrote and you said what I wrote. Thanks!

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#1674987 - 05/10/11 10:38 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Piano*Dad]
kevinb Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
You have me confused. It's all that "separated by a common language" stuff. In the US, eleven year olds aren't in "high school." That's for 14-17 year old students, and the more technically qualified of that group have studied calculus.


Ah, right, sorry. 'High school' in the UK starts at 11-ish in the state sector. There's an educational cut-off at 16, which is the age at which children can lawfully quit. There's a big jump in the standard of post-16 education, so stuff like calculus seems to be deferred until then.

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#1674989 - 05/10/11 10:42 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
kevinb Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: MegumiNoda

Oh, don't you worry. It's already been marketed (see, for example: http://www.mathdoesntsuck.com/).


Oh, my smirk I'm lost for words. Really.

Quote:
p.s. Kevin, would you mind going back to your previous post and fix the quote tags? You're missing a slash before the final "[quote]," so it currently looks like I said what you wrote and you said what I wrote. Thanks!


Sure, np.

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#1674990 - 05/10/11 10:44 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Exalted Wombat]
kevinb Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
Originally Posted By: kevinb
You can explain anything with a chuff-chuff smile


http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=chuff

:-)


Good grief ! I'll never be able to look a steam engine squarely in the buffers again smile

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#1674997 - 05/10/11 10:51 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Exalted Wombat]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
Originally Posted By: kevinb
I'm not suggesting for a moment that female students find math _more_ threatening than male students do. But I do wonder if there is something in their early educational experience that makes boys more willing to suck this stuff up than it does girls?

Or maybe it's that well-meaning parents are more willing to endure the pain of hammering math into their sons' heads than their daughters'?


Is it completely Politically Unacceptable that there might be ANY inherent differences between the sexes? Might we do a disservice by trying to compensate them out of existence, as previous generations tried to "correct" left-handedness?


I think I might have to cry 'straw man' here. I don't see anybody -- least of all me -- trying to androgenise the human race. Equality of opportunity is the issue, not uniformity.

For me that means, for example, doing what we can to ensure that women are not actively discouraged from studying engineering at university. Whether women have an innate disposition to dislike engineering, which would make such an effort worthless, is a question we simply don't have the data to answer conclusively yet. Until we can, the opportunities should be there. Or so it seems to me, anyway.

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#1675000 - 05/10/11 10:57 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
jotur Offline
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Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Well, here's my problem with "gender-specific" approaches.

There's overlap between what boys and girls are "like." "Some" boys, and as far as I can tell a non-insignificant number, like ballads or whatever, and implying in a major way that boys like only "furious fortisimoes" or whatever the phrase was, leaves them out. Some girls, thank you very much, like furious fortisimoes and have trouble relating to "pretty" music, and labeling a book of music they would relate to as "for boys" leaves them, inexplicably to them I might add, out. And as far as I can tell, that section of girls isn't insignificant, either.

So I find that labeling things this way is usually an overbroad approach that in fact *does* reinforce culturally defined gender roles at the expense of non-insignificant numbers of indiviuals.

Spoken as someone who comes from a family of 4 boys and 1 girl, and seeing the boys cry, being the girl who majored in math, having the boys be good at interior decorating and gardening, and the girl indifferent, and a host of other individual talents and interests that make us all individuals, and interestingly and often delightfully so, and seeing the cultural preferences limit both genders.

And I haven't found it yet to be different among my male and female friends. I was looking around just a couple of days ago at people I know, and there's not a one in the bunch who actually fits those cultural roles in all ways, furious fortisimoes included smile

JMO, of course.

Cathy
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#1675001 - 05/10/11 11:00 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
keystring Offline
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This discussion is getting a little bit strange. You guys are talking about the expansion of the liberal arts, and also courses of studies requiring cooperation, and then equate that with giving more opportunities to women at the expense to men. What do liberal arts and cooperation have to do with gender? The only gender-related part of this is that women have been socialized to be cooperative, generous and undemanding, and goodness knows that it has not been to our favour. Look at any freelance profession that has larger numbers of women, and then look whether that profession tends to be paid its due. Er, music teaching for example?

Quote:
Actually, I worry more that society is increasingly limiting its boys' opportunities as our schools increasingly emphasize the virtues of cooperation, diligence, sitting still, and turning in reams of process homework.


What do any of these things have to do with women? Are you serious? And if you are looking at cooperation, how about the army?

The first challenge to stereotypes came when during practice teaching I had to teach about some African nomads. In this society a man is laughed at if he carries heavy things: women are expected to be physically strong and they do that. Constructing houses is a woman's job. A man wouldn't be caught dead doing either.

The second challenge came via another culture, where I met lots of women who were engineers, doctors and mathematicians. That society was completely unaware that these were supposed to be male attributes. Talk to men and women of these societies about our stereotypes and they look puzzled - never heard of it. This was 30 years ago and as a young woman I was relieved.

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#1675009 - 05/10/11 11:11 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
tdow Offline
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Registered: 04/13/10
Posts: 203
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: kevinb

(and arguably worse than piano books for boys).


This seems a little harsh smile

We simply created a book series when we saw the need arise in our studio and in the studio of many others (boys losing interest in piano). We did not see this same loss of interest with our girl students.

We couldn't sit back and watch many promising students leave the piano simply because motivation was lacking.
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#1675022 - 05/10/11 11:31 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
jotur Offline
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I listened to the music, too, ironically played by a female laugh , and it didn't sound like "boy" as opposed to "girl" music, possibly because music doesn't sound that way. So the approach is aimed at boys because it's comic-book based?

Sorry, my favorite comic when growing up was Fantastic Four smile

I collected baseball cards, too.

Cathy
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#1675032 - 05/10/11 11:49 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
tdow Offline
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Registered: 04/13/10
Posts: 203
Loc: Canada
Cathy,

There are always going to be exceptions to everthing... however the fact remains that we used this program with the 250 piano students at our music school for a year prior to publishing the program and we were not surprised to discover that the students who absolutely loved the program were predominantly boys between the ages of 6 and 12.

As we mentioned earlier, it absolutely can be used with girls (it is an ebook, and therefore the title page with the words "Piano Books For Boys" is easily removed), but the fact remains that all of the research and experimentation conducted during the development of the book was done with the ultimate goal of motivating boys to stick with piano lessons.
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#1675033 - 05/10/11 11:53 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
The only gender-related part of this is that women have been socialized to be cooperative, generous and undemanding, and goodness knows that it has not been to our favour.


As others have posted, this is an open social/psychological/biological science question, not a closed topic. Well, it might be closed to people whose political opinion completely shapes their views of what constitutes appropriate research questions.

So yes, I am indeed "serious," and I noted your flip dismissal as a bit of an intellectual put-down.

How many times in the past have we heard that girls are terribly disadvantaged in "boy-oriented" classrooms in which aggressive and competitive boys choke off girls' growth. This was one of the factors behind moves toward reintroducing single-sex classrooms a few years back. One can think that the structure of the classroom experience may shape the outcomes, and the way that it shapes the outcomes may to some statistical extent be related to gender differences in learning style. And those learning differences may or may not be inherent in the gender. We're still learning about that.

Again, I'm waaay OT. Backing off ..... now.
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#1675047 - 05/10/11 12:18 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: tdow]
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted By: tdow
Originally Posted By: kevinb

(and arguably worse than piano books for boys).

We simply created a book series when we saw the need arise in our studio and in the studio of many others (boys losing interest in piano). We did not see this same loss of interest with our girl students.

We couldn't sit back and watch many promising students leave the piano simply because motivation was lacking.


The bottom line for me is whether beyond the packaging your series also contains substance. Music involves skill, enhanced awareness, and intelligence and strategy - it's complex and subtle. It is designed for teachers, you say, yet the presentation only addresses the external part. If there is substance then all is well. I suggest that there are some female students who don't like "sweet" either.

I joined a gym this year in an effort to regain my health, and also work with a trainer for the first time in my life, as an older female. Curves couldn't get me in the door because their hype addresses body image: weight loss and the name itself. My trainer's program reflects goals we came up with together: fitness, strength and flexibility, posture, and efficient body use. Some of these reflect my interest in music. Body imagery is nowhere in there.

Being in this gym has been an interesting experience. The men of all ages look with derision at macho posturing. They emphasize proper form, precise movement, concentration, balance, precision. These are all attributes of music practice. If there is any male persona out there, then it would be a craving for mastery and setting high standards for yourself. I'll bet that it's a female craving too, but in my generation we were to hide that and downplay ourselves. In this gym the young women are as concentrated and serious as the young men. In fact, the older generation isn't much different, maybe because of the clientel it attracts.

Stereotypes leave me uncomfortable. They create obstacles and can lead to people talking past each other. If this approach works for some students who are wired that way, and if it has substance, then all is well.

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#1675052 - 05/10/11 12:20 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: tdow]
kevinb Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: tdow
Originally Posted By: kevinb

(and arguably worse than piano books for boys).


This seems a little harsh smile

We simply created a book series when we saw the need arise in our studio and in the studio of many others (boys losing interest in piano). We did not see this same loss of interest with our girl students.


Um... that's my name up there, but not my words smile

Whatever sociological problems there might be in this area, I hardly think it's fair to expect them to be solved by piano teachers on their own. We just have to do the best we can, I guess.

On a related note, how do I renew my son's interest in horse riding? He says it's 'for girls'. Seems a shame, when he's such a competent rider. I mean, Indiana Jones rides a horse, right? It's not that he doesn't like being around girls -- he just doesn't like to do things that he thinks of as 'girly'.

He tends to feel the same way about violin lessons but, thankfully, not the piano. But then he does have at least one highly masculine role model for the piano -- me smile

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#1675063 - 05/10/11 12:44 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Piano*Dad]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
How many times in the past have we heard that girls are terribly disadvantaged in "boy-oriented" classrooms in which aggressive and competitive boys choke off girls' growth. This was one of the factors behind moves toward reintroducing single-sex classrooms a few years back. One can think that the structure of the classroom experience may shape the outcomes, and the way that it shapes the outcomes may to some statistical extent be related to gender differences in learning style. And those learning differences may or may not be inherent in the gender. We're still learning about that.


Well yes, that's one way of looking at it. Another analysis holds that girls over-achieve until puberty, then get sidetracked by sexual relationships (they're interested in SOCIAL relationships more than boys are just about from birth).

All "on the average" and "your mileage may vary" of course. We don't need rules or prohibitions, particularly on a subject like this where politics so often sway judgement.

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