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#1673549 - 05/08/11 11:54 AM Gender specific piano pedagogy
MegumiNoda Offline
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Registered: 05/31/09
Posts: 203
Surfing today led me from a thread here to a blog (Color in My Piano) to the announcement of a series, which, apparently, cater to boys: http://www.pianomusicforboys.com/

I have to admit, my knee jerk reaction was one of horror. I had once seen some old lesson books (published in the 1940's, say) that had gender separated themes like that. (I don't remember the exact phrasing, but the "boy" book had marches and patriotic songs; the "girl" book talked about helping girls to become poised and become ready to one day entertain her husband's guests.) I remember making fun of the staled gender roles, but shrugged them off as typical of their time. But really? In 2011, do we really need to make "fearless fortissimo" a boy trait?

I suppose there may be good pedagogical reasons (e.g., children go through phases of strong gender identification; or maybe it's harder to convince boys to practice than girls). Still...

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#1673585 - 05/08/11 12:40 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Looks dreadful. I notice the ad is backed by hard-rock guitar. Boys who want to play hard rock guitar, should play hard rock guitar.

There may be something in the gender-specific theme that would be useful. But not this.

Does remind me a little of a conversation I once had with the head teacher at the primary school. I asked her why my son's reading book always had a girl as a central character. She said authors write for a girl's market because girls do more reading. Right... wink
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#1673599 - 05/08/11 01:18 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Diane... Offline
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Registered: 11/16/06
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Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: MegumiNoda
Surfing today led me from a thread here to a blog (Color in My Piano) to the announcement of a series, which, apparently, cater to boys: http://www.pianomusicforboys.com/

I have to admit, my knee jerk reaction was one of horror. I had once seen some old lesson books (published in the 1940's, say) that had gender separated themes like that. (I don't remember the exact phrasing, but the "boy" book had marches and patriotic songs; the "girl" book talked about helping girls to become poised and become ready to one day entertain her husband's guests.) I remember making fun of the staled gender roles, but shrugged them off as typical of their time. But really? In 2011, do we really need to make "fearless fortissimo" a boy trait?
I suppose there may be good pedagogical reasons (e.g., children go through phases of strong gender identification; or maybe it's harder to convince boys to practice than girls). Still...

Oh such a great topic discussion!

Just lent out a book to a boy that was titled "Something for the Girls" that had "Larger than Life" by The Backstreet boys! Well, one of his male friends was at his house & teased him that we decided to "hide" his piano books away! Tough lesson for use all, rather tough piano lesson (pun intended)!

Have noticed recently that the Dan Coates books are calling these pop books, "Pop Hits for the Teen Player"! Not much better as I have tweenagers playing out of these books as well!

Can't win! Just call them music collections "Pop for EVERYONE"!

So, I have photocopied pieces that both genders will enjoy, regardless of piano book title! Now I just have to go and answer the door, as the "photo-copying Police have arrived! grin


Edited by Diane... (05/08/11 01:20 PM)
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#1673673 - 05/08/11 02:49 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Diane...]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Posts: 1203
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Diane...
So, I have photocopied pieces that both genders will enjoy, regardless of piano book title!


Now THAT is an interesting statement! "Pieces that both genders will enjoy..." If there's a middle ground, there must be extremes. Why deny either sex the enjoyment of them?

Because your son probably doesn't want to do pink-fairy-ballet stuff, do you deny it to your daughter?

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#1673677 - 05/08/11 03:02 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
ando Online   content
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Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3658
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Yes, I found that my 3 volume collection of pieces I assembled for the transgendered was not at all well-received by the mainstream market.... The were oddly popular with Lady Gaga fans though...

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#1674304 - 05/09/11 10:42 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
tdow Offline
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Registered: 04/13/10
Posts: 203
Loc: Canada
I am glad this debate has surfaced because it was certainly front and centre in the minds of myself and my husband when we created The Adventures of Fearless Fortissimo. We knew, undoubtedly, that the material would give rise to some discussion on gender-specific material.

Our conclusion, and the reason why we continued to write the series, was because we came to recognize the difference between materials written to promote gender-specific behaviours and materials written to address gender-specific behaviours. The Adventures of Fearless Fortissimo was obviously written with the latter in mind.

Over the years at our music school we came to recognize a discrepancy in motivation between our male piano students and our female piano students. This discrepancy was resulting in male piano students having a substantially higher dropout rate than female piano students.

To address this we sought to find the root of the problem which was in fact that, boys learn differently than girls. This extends beyond the piano into many areas of education. Through a year of extensive research into the learning styles of boys we felt we had enough information that we could create a piano program that would eliminate the motivational discrepancy that we had first recognized.

The result was, The Adventures of Fearless Fortissimo (Piano Books For Boys). Will pieces and storyline appeal to girls? Probably... but when we wrote this series it was based on the research highlighting the different learning styles of boys (not girls), and therefore to call the series anything other than “Piano Books For Boys” would be misleading to teachers interested in the material. The series is meant to address gender-specific behaviours, not to promote gender-specific behaviours.

If you have any concerns or questions please message me, I would be happy to discuss at length.
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#1674338 - 05/09/11 12:03 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: tdow]
kevinb Offline
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Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: tdow
The series is meant to address gender-specific behaviours, not to promote gender-specific behaviours.


I wonder if, in our society, it's really possible to separate these issues? Does not targetting a gender behaviour have the circular effect of promoting that behaviour in the long term?

Not that I'd be enormously worried -- my experience is that children are quite capable of drifting into traditional gender roles whatever their parents think about it. I can't see how a piano book for boys is going to cause society to crumble smile

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#1674344 - 05/09/11 12:15 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
scotpgot Offline
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Registered: 10/26/10
Posts: 129
I think it's a good question. Particularly in light of tdow's post about "addressing learning differences" and "promoting" them.

Of course, as a teacher, I find that nearly every student learns a LITTLE differently. Even at 10 years old, there are expectations and quirks "inherited" from family members that are to be considered when designing any kind of syllabus for learning. That's what a teacher is FOR. smile

That said, writing a series of books that is catered to the learning styles of one gender or the other does not seem, to me, to be a bad idea. Writing ONE series and just changing the title of a piece here and there to "patriotic melody" or "ballerina melody" does not.

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#1674349 - 05/09/11 12:28 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: kevinb]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1203
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: kevinb
I wonder if, in our society, it's really possible to separate these issues? Does not targetting a gender behaviour have the circular effect of promoting that behaviour in the long term?


Remind me again why gender differences are bad? We steer our children in so many ways, under the pretence that we're just providing "opportunities for discovery". A middle-class family "assumes" their children will read, study, achieve .... and angle their environment to encourage and enable these things. Why are we frightened of assuming that a boy will act like a boy, a girl like a girl?

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#1674380 - 05/09/11 01:22 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
keystring Offline
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I have a more basic question. Regardless of any tastes which a large number of people in a group may share, there is still learning to play the piano as a skill. You want eventually to be able to play any music in a manner that reflects your own personality and what you see in the music. So what about that side of it? There are some sample videos up showing both the music and I think how it is expected to be played. Does this tell us anything?

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#1674383 - 05/09/11 01:39 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Exalted Wombat]
MegumiNoda Offline
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Registered: 05/31/09
Posts: 203
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat

Remind me again why gender differences are bad? ... Why are we frightened of assuming that a boy will act like a boy, a girl like a girl?


I don't think people think that "gender differences are bad," but people may have concerns about *perceived* gender differences that unnecessarily restrict a child from developing in certain ways. The situation is exacerbated by the problem that a lot of the research is still on-going, so it's difficult to decide what "a boy will act like a boy" exactly means (how much of it is innate and how much of it is socially/culturally created?).

In my original post, I had admitted that my immediate reaction to this particular series (Fearless Fortissimo) is visceral. If the series turns out to be effective for boy piano students, great.

In theory, I don't actually have a problem with gender specific teaching material targeted at leveling the playing field (e.g., exposing girls to robots, boys to ballet, or whatever). In practice, it's very challenging to create effective materials, even with developers who have the best of intentions. In my own experience, at least, gender specific packaging of general things often end up being not so effective for either gender (e.g., Pink Tools for Women).

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#1674430 - 05/09/11 03:10 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: tdow]
Legal Beagle Offline
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Registered: 12/24/09
Posts: 776
Originally Posted By: tdow
... to call the series anything other than “Piano Books For Boys” would be misleading to teachers interested in the material...


Hope you all don't mind a non-teacher chiming in with an opinion. This topic is pretty interesting to me.

tdow, I applaud your efforts and your intent, and it looks to me like you've produced a really interesting product.

My question is... WHY does it have to be titled "For Boys?" What would be "misleading" about simply calling it "Fearless Fortissimo" and leaving it at that?

Why not just put it out there, knowing it will appeal mostly to boys, but maybe to some girls, too? To me, that would solve the problem, and certainly teachers would be capable of identifying which of their students might like it (whether they are boys or girls).

I would analogize it to other products: There's certainly no problem with the fact that there are both dolls and toy trucks on the market, and I don't think many folks would question that more girls than boys like dolls, and more boys than girls like toy trucks... but what if those products were labeled "Barbie Doll For Girls" or "Tonka Truck For Boys," or most analogous to your product, "Toys For Boys" and "Toys For Girls." I think THAT'S where the problem comes in. That's when we get into the slippery slope and circular logic of whether we're "promoting" gender stereotypes or "addressing" them (to use your terms).

In other words, I think that with regard to producing "Fearless Fortissimo," you're right... you're "addressing" gender differences. But with regard to naming it "Piano Lessons For Boys," I think you're wrong... I think you're "promoting."

Just my two cents. Cheers.
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#1674438 - 05/09/11 03:18 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Quote:
In other words, I think that with regard to producing "Fearless Fortissimo," you're right... you're "addressing" gender differences. But with regard to naming it "Piano Lessons For Boys," I think you're wrong... I think you're "promoting."


Actually, he may wind up "anti-promoting." He may lose more sales by segregating the market that way than he gains by including the specific "boy" language.
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#1674443 - 05/09/11 03:24 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Piano*Dad]
Legal Beagle Offline
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Registered: 12/24/09
Posts: 776
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Quote:
In other words, I think that with regard to producing "Fearless Fortissimo," you're right... you're "addressing" gender differences. But with regard to naming it "Piano Lessons For Boys," I think you're wrong... I think you're "promoting."


Actually, he may wind up "anti-promoting." He may lose more sales by segregating the market that way than he gains by including the specific "boy" language.


PD, I meant "promoting gender-specific behaviours," as tdow distinguished it from "addressing gender-specific behaviours."

But you're right, PD, and I had the same thought. That's guaranteed to cut out that portion of the market. If I'm making a pink easy-bake oven, I've got a pretty good idea that mostly girls are going to buy it, but I'm not going to call it an "Oven For Girls" and be SURE to exclude any potential boy buyers. In fact, I'll probably put a picture on the packaging of a boy and a girl playing with it together... not for societal gender issues, but for potential sales.

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#1674449 - 05/09/11 03:32 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Ah, I see now what you meant. I was indeed focussed on the market angle.
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#1674463 - 05/09/11 04:15 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5548
Loc: Orange County, CA
Labels are bad. Gender-specific labels are even worse.

I do have some of those "for boys" books in my library. Most of them are pretty stereotypical.
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#1674465 - 05/09/11 04:19 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Diane...]
AZNpiano Offline
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Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Diane...
Just call them music collections "Pop for EVERYONE"!

Amen! Gender stereotypes are awful.
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#1674466 - 05/09/11 04:22 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
I attended a children's recital not too long ago where all the boys had at least one cowboy and indian piece. It was more of a pow wow than a recital.

Whatever we do with books, when the kids start talking to each other and peer pressure is applied, that is what is going to have the most effect.

I definitely prefer seeing books titled "Piano Lessons for Boys" than nothing as in many places the assumption is that all piano books are titled "Piano Lessons are for Sissies"

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#1674471 - 05/09/11 04:29 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: tdow]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: tdow
Over the years at our music school we came to recognize a discrepancy in motivation between our male piano students and our female piano students. This discrepancy was resulting in male piano students having a substantially higher dropout rate than female piano students.

Could it be that, culturally, we are driving our boy students out of piano lessons because piano is not "cool"? Or that boys are encouraged to do more sports once they enter middle school?

A couple of years ago, one of the older teachers in my branch of MTA gave me a program of a public recital from 1989. Several of my classmates were in the program (a few were surprises), but one that stood out was the "cool guy" from school. No one expects him to play the piano. He never talked about it.
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#1674550 - 05/09/11 07:06 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
tdow Offline
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Registered: 04/13/10
Posts: 203
Loc: Canada
From a marketing perspective, the more specific your message, the more successful your advertising. The book was not written for a general audience, it was written for teachers who may be struggling to motivate boy piano students.

Successful marketing is based on identifying your audience and marketing directly to that audience, and therefore the book was titled “Piano Books For Boys”.

I think the Curves Fitness Franchise serves as a good analogy for this discussion…

Curves, the world’s most successful fitness franchise markets their product as “Curves Gym For Women”. They are not pretending to be a co-ed gym. They recognize that many women feel more comfortable working out among other women and that many women feel the need to have a workout experience designed specifically for women. I think this represents a successful company that has addressed gender-specific concerns just as the Fortissimo Series addresses gender-specific concerns around learning piano.
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#1674585 - 05/09/11 08:15 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Yes, but unlike the gym workout, piano is a solo experience. Women may (or may not) feel uncomfortable working out with men, but that's because working out in a public gym is .... well ... public. The analogy with boys versus girls solo study of piano is not quite apt.

Ultimately, it's an empirical question. But unless you can run a controlled small-group test, you'll never know whether the more inclusive marketing (with boys as a clear subtext) would have worked better than trumpeting "BOYS" in the title.
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#1674589 - 05/09/11 08:18 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Piano*Dad]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Ultimately, it's an empirical question. But unless you can run a controlled small-group test, you'll never know whether the more inclusive marketing (with boys as an advertised subtext) would have worked better than trumpeting "BOYS" in the title.

Sounds like a good research paper topic!
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#1674592 - 05/09/11 08:19 PM 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
grin

But not by me!
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#1674602 - 05/09/11 08:25 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Andromaque Offline
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Registered: 08/29/08
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Loc: New York
I am not "hearing" gender-specific differences in "learning styles", as much as in motivation or interest. Something along the traditional "pink dolls" for girls and " motorcycles and toyguns" for boys.
Do you actually write different music or do you package it in comics/ titles/themes that are more likely to appeal to boys? if the former, do you go beyond the -traditional- adagios for girls and allegro/fortissimo staccatos for boys?

You also mention extensive research: what are the actual data emanating from the research that led to your conclusions that boys and girls actually "learn" piano differently?

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#1674611 - 05/09/11 08:37 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: tdow]
MegumiNoda Offline
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Registered: 05/31/09
Posts: 203
There are a few factors to consider when we think about the Curves analogy. First, Curves' primary targets are adult women, who have, arguably, grown up with more cultural stereotyping. I am much more likely to sign my shy, body-image conscious mother up for a Curves membership than a daughter whom I would want to grow up to be able to interact with men and women confidently[+]. Second, the studies on physiological differences between men and women are better grounded and understood than research on how the brain works. There are on-going research about how children learn (esp. on classroom learning), but the field is still young, and there are still lots of debates among researchers[*].



[*] For anyone interested:
* Here is a survey-style article: The evidence suggests otherwise: The truth about boys and girls S Mead - 2006 - Education Sector
* Here is a recently published book: Boys, Girls and the Myths of Literacies and Learning. Roberta F. Hammett and Kathy Sanford (Eds.). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars Press, 2008, 252 pages. Here is a review for the book by B. Kelly in the The Alberta Journal of Educational Research.

[+] Incidentally, I had joined Curves for a few months myself. It was not for me. I realize it is a very successful franchise, but to me, its attitude felt condescending, not unlike the Pink Tools for Women. I had since then returned to a co-ed gym.


Edited by MegumiNoda (05/09/11 08:52 PM)
Edit Reason: added footnotes

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#1674639 - 05/09/11 09:28 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
tdow Offline
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Registered: 04/13/10
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Loc: Canada
Interesting points to consider.

The curves analogy was simply meant to illustrate that there are times when a gender-specific service or product is okay (or at times in fact needed).
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#1674749 - 05/10/11 12:33 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Candywoman Offline
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 855
I think it's fine to address boys in the title. When I choose music for my students, I have a large body of music that both genders play. And then I have a few pieces that I find the boys like more, and a few that the girls like more.

I wouldn't likely give a boy much Gretchaninoff for the grade three level (I think it's opus 100), or Leslie Fly: Snow White.

I wouldn't likely give a girl much Leslie Fly: the Queen's Beasts or Robin Hood, or Inspector Gadget.

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#1674807 - 05/10/11 03:30 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
I wonder if, in our society, it's really possible to separate these issues? Does not targetting a gender behaviour have the circular effect of promoting that behaviour in the long term?


Remind me again why gender differences are bad? We steer our children in so many ways, under the pretence that we're just providing "opportunities for discovery". A middle-class family "assumes" their children will read, study, achieve .... and angle their environment to encourage and enable these things. Why are we frightened of assuming that a boy will act like a boy, a girl like a girl?


I'm mildly surprised that this question needs to be asked in the 21st century...

Of course there are fundamental biological difference between males and females, and invariably they will lead to behavioural differences.

What we don't want to happen is to allow these differences to lead to an inequality of opportunity for girls. Or, worse, to _exploit_ those differences to so that women are pushed into menial and submissive roles in society. Since we've been doing exactly that for, oh..., 6000-or-so years, and since we (in the West, at least) aren't really doing it any more, it seems to me we're moving in the right direction.

The tricky question -- the question that there seems to be no clear answer to -- is whether reinforcing gender stereotypes is a cause or a symptom of gender inequality. There's been a lot of hot air blasted out by both sides of the debate, and I'm not sure we're any nearer a convincing answer than we were in the 60s. I certainly don't pretend to know the answer.

More on topic...

The issue of gender-specific pedagogy is pretty prominent in mainstream education -- it's certainly not limited to learning the piano. We've had a suspicion that our entire primary education strategy works better for girls than for boys for a long time. You've only got to look at educational achievements at age 11 (or thereabouts) to see the evidence for that.

But, again, what we don't know is if they problem is biological or sociological. If it's mostly biological, then perhaps the right thing to do is to modify educational practice to suit the different genders better. But if it is mostly sociological -- if boys and girls _learn_ different responses to the educational environment we offer (from their peers or their parents) -- then perhaps what we should be changing is something else.

For all that, it's unfair to expect folks writing piano method books to tackle deep and complex sociological issues single-handedly.

Quote:

A middle-class family "assumes" their children will read, study, achieve ....


Remind me again why this is bad smile

It's hardly limited to the middle classes, anyway. In the western world, pretty much every parent assumes that that children will have, and should have, these opportunities. This seems to me to be unquestionably a good thing.

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#1674848 - 05/10/11 05:57 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: kevinb]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1203
Loc: London UK
Quote:
Quote:
Remind me again why gender differences are bad?


I'm mildly surprised that this question needs to be asked in the 21st century...


And then you fill half a page discussing how they aren't really bad at all! Why can we not celebrate gender differences while also striving for equal opportunities for individuals?

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#1674850 - 05/10/11 06:10 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
Quote:
Quote:
Remind me again why gender differences are bad?


I'm mildly surprised that this question needs to be asked in the 21st century...


And then you fill half a page discussing how they aren't really bad at all! Why can we not celebrate gender differences while also striving for equal opportunities for individuals?


I never said we couldn't.

The problem is how to be accepting of gender differences while not allowing them to lead to inequality. As I society, I don't think we can be sure yet that we have yet developed a way to do that.

That's why, I think, we often encounter what often seem (to me, anyway) to be be wacky restrictions -- not allowing little boys to play cowboys, etc. I grew up in a culture where little boys played cowboys and little girls played with dolls, and a woman's place was in the home. There's no particular reason for thinking that the cowboys and the dolls lead to women being poorly regarded as professionals but, at the same time, there's not a huge reason for thinking that this _isn't_ the case, either.

That's why, I think, we tend to be overcautious in this area. Nobody much wants to see a return to the fixed gender stereotyping of the 50s -- Heaven forbid -- but we aren't yet sure how to prevent that happening while still accomodating the fundamental differences between men and women.






Edited by kevinb (05/10/11 06:12 AM)

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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
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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]
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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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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 Online   blank
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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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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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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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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
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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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#1675064 - 05/10/11 12:46 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: tdow]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1203
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: tdow
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.


Am I going mad, or are some people actually suggesting that a book "Piano for boys" shouldn't be ALLOWED?

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#1675065 - 05/10/11 12:46 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Piano*Dad]
keystring Offline
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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.

I had not heard of this before. That is why it surprised me so much, and caught me off guard. If somebody out there decides that girls are cooperative and boys are competitive, and then creates programs based on those assumptions, that does not make their natures so. We are who we are. I had no idea that programs anywhere were designed on such premises. In general stereotypes leave me very uncomfortable. It is easy to be caught out by them.

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#1675069 - 05/10/11 01:00 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Quote:
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'.


Take him to Montana. He'll meet lots of guys who ride horses .... for a living.
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#1675099 - 05/10/11 01:53 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Piano*Dad]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Quote:
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'.


Take him to Montana. He'll meet lots of guys who ride horses .... for a living.


Bit like taking your daughter to Vegas to learn about relationships :-)

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#1675101 - 05/10/11 01:57 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
theJourney Offline
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Or to the bar and lounge of the Holiday Inn in a suburb of Gary, Indiana an hour after the end of happy hour to learn about the importance and relevance of piano lessons.

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#1675117 - 05/10/11 02:27 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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That would cover Vegas as well?

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#1694628 - 06/12/11 10:00 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
timtopham Offline
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Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 110
Loc: Brunswick, VIC
Hey all, I recently wrote a post about piano music ideas for boys on my blog:

http://timtopham.com/2011/06/07/teaching-boys-repertoire-ideas/

I found it really hard when I was just beginning teaching to know about good repertoire, so I hope this may help others out there...
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#1694975 - 06/13/11 01:51 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
tnew Offline
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Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 158
Loc: Austria
I would at least give a glance at a piano book for boys, since I have a son. Whether I buy or not would depend on if it adequately addressed the typical learning style differences or not.

Boys and girls are usually wired differently. Some girls really are meant to be cooperative and submissive and that is fine. There are a few boys like that too, but probably not nearly as many. I always believed girls often don't do well in mathematics and science because they process information differently than most boys. Not all of them of course.

Hey, I was a girl in engineering. I admit I am not like most other women that I know. The few (and there are really very few) that I work with are quite similar to me. I don't know why my lot was such, but there it is. How fortunate that I live in a society where I at least get a chance to do what I am capable of regardless of my gender. But I must say that I never went into engineering because of rebellion towards gender roles. I was already moving in that direction from the time I was knee high and building tiny cities out of garage scrap for my toys to live in.

I don't see any point trying to rip girls or boys out of gender roles...if they fit them. I respect house wives and working dads. Men and women are generally not the same and we shouldn't be trying to convince them they are. Neither should we be inflexible for those that don't quite fit the norm.

Also, the sciences in college take a whole different mode of thinking than liberal arts (different sector of the brain). I am not surprised most women tend towards liberal arts due to their learning and thinking style. I feel I can say that with confidence because I am a closet liberal arts person myself. It takes a noticeable shift of gears in the brain to swap between engineering and the arts.

I'm open for possibilities in individual tailored learning, so long as it fits the child.

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#1695128 - 06/13/11 07:49 PM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
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The elephant in the room for me is this:

Advanced music does not have pictures. Difficult and rewarding music sells itself mostly through SOUND.

My students have ideas about what they want to play, and those ideas change as they get better. They don't care about pictures and are never fooled into thinking that a so-so piece of music is magically turned into something "cool" because it has a "cool" picture.

So I must be in a different universe. smile
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#1708821 - 07/07/11 01:01 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Gary D.]
Theme&Variations Offline
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Registered: 06/19/10
Posts: 135
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
My students have ideas about what they want to play, and those ideas change as they get better. They don't care about pictures and are never fooled into thinking that a so-so piece of music is magically turned into something "cool" because it has a "cool" picture.


Thank-you for this very sensible reminder. I will have to remember this the next time I get into a debate/discussion/argument about the need for special music/books for boys.
_________________________
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Member:
ASME (Australian Society for Music Education),
ANZCA (Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts),
KMEIA (Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia).

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#1708870 - 07/07/11 03:24 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: MegumiNoda]
trillingadventurer Offline
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Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 304
Loc: San Diego
Another elephant in the room:

We are teachers who teach boys and girls and there is quite alot of attention in the world of education on learning styles differing between girls and boys.

This is not offensive. This is being sensitive to reality. Just type in "How Boys and Girls learn differently" in google....
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M. Katchur

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#1708872 - 07/07/11 03:37 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: trillingadventurer]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: trillingadventurer
Another elephant in the room:

We are teachers who teach boys and girls and there is quite alot of attention in the world of education on learning styles differing between girls and boys.

This is not offensive. This is being sensitive to reality. Just type in "How Boys and Girls learn differently" in google....


And beyond that:

There are girls who learn in ways stereotypically associated with boys, and vice versa.

I have one young boy who listens to every word I say. He never argues, he is rather passive, very careful. Super student. I love teaching him. But terribly sensitive. I am working to boost his confidence, get him to make his needs known, teach him that it is OK to be a bit boisterous now and then.

Now, how would you think Martha Argerich learned? I would wager that she learned much more the way that we THINK or THOUGHT that girls learn.

I think music tends to make lies out of stereotypes. smile
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#1708887 - 07/07/11 04:51 AM Re: Gender specific piano pedagogy [Re: Gary D.]
Exalted Wombat Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1203
Loc: London UK
There are gender characteristics. There are individual characteristics. A sensible teacher is informed about both.

Where mass education is required, with a limited budget, sometimes we have to tend toward "the greatest good of the greatest number". Not every pupil in a public school (using the term in the American sense) can have an individually-crafted curriculum.

But every individual piano pupil can, quite easily. As teachers, we don't require rules and guidelines, just observation and common sense.

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