Just for girls?

July 31, 2010 at 04:19 PM ·

I take an interest in my 7-year-old nephew's musical development.  Recently his mother told me that the violin and flute are definitely perceived as girls' instruments, which means the violin would be a hard sell to the kid. (They're in Massachusetts.) Any comments?

Replies (70)

July 31, 2010 at 05:16 PM ·

 She knows nothing.

July 31, 2010 at 05:51 PM ·

Unfortunately, there is a fund of truth in it. A teacher told me that in childhood other boys would make fun of him for playing the violin. It seems that in some particular areas, specially where classical music is not much recognized, violin is considered suitable for effeminate boys, at least from the point of view of some non-musical kids and teens.

July 31, 2010 at 06:09 PM ·

In part, I agree with the above post. Sometime, people who are not very familiar with classical music get that impression of the violin.

However, since the child is so young, it really depends on how the parents approach it. As long as he is exposed to a lot of classical music and male violinists, he will not see it as "girlie".

There are plenty of young males who take violin lessons, and plenty of them that are proud of it!

July 31, 2010 at 06:34 PM ·

Whose perception is this, the mother's or the child's?  If it's the mother's, is it tied up with fear of Europeans, homosexuals, education, and the boogeyman?

I've volunteered in a middle-school music program for a couple of years, working with some fairly tough kids, many of whom come from an environment where there is no support for playing any stringed instrument.  I've never heard any kid at that school say anything implying that violins are for girls (or sissies) and a couple of the more popular boys in the school are playing violin.  (Maybe they just don't know better, or are out of touch with east coast prejudices.)

You might remind this household that it was only about 20 minutes ago that the Vienna orchestra allowed women to play at all.


July 31, 2010 at 07:43 PM ·

The violin as sexually suitable for WHAT?   I thought it was a musical instrument - can we talk of "gender" stereotypes, please? Don't want to be too much of a prude, but c'mon – parents AND students read these forums.

This reminds me of a young female presenter at this last SAA conference who, discussing the cello thumb position, nonchalantly intimated "I did a lot of anal experiments with my thumb as a student..." Nobody heard the following few words - it was hilarious, especially since SHE didn't get what the fuss was all about! Ah, string conferences are anything but boring....

July 31, 2010 at 07:52 PM ·

 There's no question of the attitude, regardless of what we think of it. It's the same with horseback riding and gymnastics. Most of my and everyone else's studio here are female, as is the local youth orchestra.

July 31, 2010 at 09:59 PM ·

FWIG, it used to be a male instrument way back in the day; all strings were.  Instruments considered suitable for women were the harp and all keyboards since they were not portable and were always in the home, and thus associated with domestic music-making.

At this point though, violin and piano both are considered about as gender-neutral as possible.  Methinks this poor little boy is probably getting the idea that all peaceable artistic pursuits are unsuitable for Macho Guys, and that pulling ear hair and belching are what he should be directing his efforts towards. :-(  Hopefully, he'll survive adolescence with his humanity intact.  He can be exposed to all the male role models in the world, but if he's teased daily at school, that will be the more important factor to him.

July 31, 2010 at 10:08 PM ·

As a child I was interested in French horn and thought it was too "girly" because it was soooo decorated and "pretty" looking (sadly I didn't hear anyone play it and miss out on a great instrument). When I decieded on an instrument (I knew when i was a child i WANTED a string instrument, based on how cool they look). When I heard that the viola was between the "tinny" violin and the "grumbling" of a cello I jumped for it...but appearantly the school doesn't teach viola so I was stuck with the violin (don't regret it because I play both quite well :D and enjoy them!). Point is, when I was a child I picked mine based on the sound.... Higher=soprano=girl....that was my thought? I guess? ahah

July 31, 2010 at 10:15 PM ·

Rent Billy Elliot.  And plead that both the kid and the parents see it....

How depressing....

Are most soloists female now?  I suppose its possible that the role models have switched - certainly when I grew up they were all male!

July 31, 2010 at 10:23 PM ·

I think there are some cultures, or maybe microcultures, within the US that still steer boys towards sports and away from music in general.   I'm in Massachusetts too, and I do see some of this ridiculous stereotype about the violin among my kids' friends, especially Caucasians.  Asians not so much.  

The flute stereotype is worse.  I don't even know many male flute players, of the two I do know, one is openly gay and the other is over 70 years old (when he was trained perhaps the stereotype hadn't taken hold as much?)

I am not sure how one counters this.  I would think that male role models and music teachers would be a good place to start.


July 31, 2010 at 10:37 PM ·

 I thought we were passed all this. But I always thought it very nice that most of my colleagues, when I was in school, were female. All the football players got was body contact with hairy sweaty guys and then back to the all male locker room. I was surrounded by beautiful, talented and charming young women. I am sure I was secretly envied.

July 31, 2010 at 11:00 PM ·

You were probably secretly envied but even more importantly, you were clearly able to make logical conclusions.  Hm, be surrounded by attractive members of your gender of object choice or not?  Wait, give me a second here ...

I think sometimes that part of the reason why I chose viola was because of its somewhat in-between sound like that.  My favorite voices are countertenor/haute contre and contralto.  High male and low female, and viola is right there.  Like a violin with b*lls or a cello in lipstick.  :-)

July 31, 2010 at 11:09 PM ·

The kids in my family get to chose their instruments. Both boys (ages 4 and 7) are playing the violin. The girl (10) went for the piano. Not exactly a large sampling number, but still a good offset for the "hard sell" idea.


August 1, 2010 at 03:11 AM ·

Totally stupid!  Violin can sound beautiful in the two gender's hands...

In history, girls had to fight so hard just to have a chance to play the violin...  Look at Powell, Neveu, Haendel etc they were amongst hundred of men and had to fight hard to be seen as = ...

Look at these "elite" orchestras who still fear to hire women (Vienna...)

I agree that, in music schools, violin students are mostly girls but as the level begins to be higher (professionnal soloist or member of a reknowed  orchestra, it is always about 50/50 of genders) 

In fact, if the violin would be a "fifi" instrument, why would everyone remember so well Heifetzh, Kreisler, Menuhin, Milstein, Oistrakh, Kogan etc

I personally think that girls had to fight very hard to get there... (and bravo to them to have make it!) And now that there are so many girls, beeing a boy will help him because "it's different" from what they are used to see in music schools.  (It will do the same effect as putting a girl in an ingeneer class. Everyone will take care of him and notice him which isn't that much of a bad thing for him, no ? ; )  

There are many videos of wonderful soloists of the two genders available on youtube... The mom should take a look at these!

Ps: for the horseback riding thing, my friend who follows horseback riding lessons since she's a child told me that it's the same phenomenon than in classical music. About just girls at the begining and 50% (and far less girls than this in fence jumping) girls at the very high professionnal levels.   

August 1, 2010 at 05:56 AM ·

I'm afraid this stereotype must have been en vogue in the Netherlands for a few decades as well. Of the 10 violinists in the orchestra I play in I'm the only male, and the oldest by some 15 years. All cellists are male, though.

August 1, 2010 at 06:10 AM ·

Hi! Most of the boys I know don't play the violin, not because they think it's a girl's instrument; but because it's a rather small instrument. They rather play something bigger...like the viola. I don't have the mindset that certain instruments are for certain genders, but I do tend to think that girls are better violinists. Truth or Myth?

August 1, 2010 at 06:50 AM ·

The idea that the violin is a girly instrument is a complete crock that is not based on any logical or historical significance whatsoever.  If you had told Jascha Heifetz or David Oistrakh that the violin is "perceived as a girl's instrument" I'm sure they would have thought this was funny and they might have asked "by whom?"  Certainly not by anyone whose opinion is worth anything.

The violin is an instrument for whichever person has the patience and desire to learn it.  If you are up to the challenge it is for you.

August 1, 2010 at 07:56 AM ·

If your nephew will pick up the piano instead, he can hit a lot on violinist and flute girls

while playing duets. That can be useful when getting older :)

August 1, 2010 at 06:35 PM ·

"If you had told Jascha Heifetz or David Oistrakh that the violin is "perceived as a girl's instrument" I'm sure they would have thought this was funny and they might have asked "by whom?"

Other option: the one who would have told this would have been better to run... did you see these hands?  Guarenty no "fifi" smash!!! 

Also not a good idea to tell this to Perlman : ) 



August 1, 2010 at 07:20 PM ·

Emulate fiddlers!
Get a life-sized poster of Charlie Daniels on the fiddle, Bob Wills, or even Andy Stein!

August 1, 2010 at 07:46 PM ·

 I think you really need look no further than the woman who play solo in front of the symphony.  They stand erect, holding their bows like the sword of lady liberty.

Take for example the last two minutes of this Midori clip : www.youtube.com/watch her playing is excellent, and she looks like she's killing a bear! www.youtube.com/watch Here's part two, where you can see her looking at the body.

I think the violin is a very masculine instrument.

August 1, 2010 at 09:09 PM ·

As the previous poster pointed out, people who will get at top levels (men or woman) really need to be very energic, powerful and strong (along with intelligence and sensitivity of course...).   It's a difficult profession mentally and physically.  I think these "traits" can be found in both of genders harmoniously.  Afterall, is the ideal violin sound a mix of power and beauty?  For me, definitivly yes! A player that is just feminine or just masculine acting couldn't play well anyway!     

August 2, 2010 at 02:47 AM ·

I must confess that even though I am an avid male violinist, I am guilty of this stereotype at least to an extent.  Last week, I met a professional athlete.  A tall, well built young man, perhaps 6' 4" and 200 lbs give or take.  When I mentioned that I am a violinist, and he said he too played the violin.  I was delighted to hear this, but in the back of my mind, I thought it was odd for a jock like him to be playing violin.  I'm not sure where that notion came from, but it was there nonetheless. 

August 2, 2010 at 04:04 AM ·

I certainly agree here with the majority opinion. I think that the violin is pretty gender-neutral. But for that very reason, it makes you more of what you are. I studied Kung-Fu for several years as a young man. I didn't feel any more masculine doing martial arts than I did and do, playing the violin. But as Anne-Marie pointed out, it's more complex than that. We each have a masculine and feminine side, and purposely trying to stress only one or the other in our playing would not best serve the music or the instrument.

BTW, the legendary heavyweight boxing champ, Joe Lewis, studied the violin!

August 2, 2010 at 03:55 PM ·

Smiley, my guess is that you would have been equally surprised if a female pro athlete said she played violin- that's probably more of a "jocks aren't musicians" thing than a male/female one.

While I'll concede that the flute stereotype is common, the only two superstar flautists i can think of would be Jean-Pierre Rampal and Sir James Galway, both of whom regularly appear in tails rather than diva dresses.

August 2, 2010 at 05:10 PM ·

The legendary boxing champ was Joe Louis. Joe Lewis was the Karate Kickboxing champion, he studied broken noses.

The only instrument that I would classify as girly, womanly, is the harp. That is until I see a big hairy hand strumming the strings.  

August 2, 2010 at 06:24 PM ·

There's Harpo Marx ...

August 2, 2010 at 08:12 PM ·

 While the harp may be effeminate, in "foke lore" it is played mostly by young BOYS!  Angels called cherubs! 

This gets very tricky with classification by gender.  For example, one may propose the electric guitar as the most manly instrument, before realizing that allmost all of the men who play it have long hair and sing in high pitched voices...

My vote is for the Didgeridoo as the most manly as it's only played by men within it's native religious setting.  For the most effeminate I'd have to say the fluite, just because of it's voice.  I know that men play it, but it sounds very much like a bird/female voice.


August 2, 2010 at 08:34 PM ·

We struggle with this in ballroom dancing too - its seen as iffeminate. Which is amazing because its probably the only activity left where the man leads and the woman has to do what she's told.  Always.  Not only that, but the guy gets to hold a gorgeous woman in his arms and show her off to the other guys - isn't that more manly than grappling with a bunch of guys in a muddy field?

Perhaps not - after all, the definition of masculine and femine are (IMO) rather independent of each other - to be masculine is to rule over other men (and vice versa).  I think they are more about tribal heirarchy than male-female pairing and sexuallity.  Thats why men swear and drink beer - I've yet to meet a woman who is impressed by either - oh, and I hasten to add, why women dress in expensive outfits and spend hours on their hair/makeup.  Most guys I know would rather they took all the clothes off and went au natural...

So where is this with relation to instruments?  It is hard to dominate other males with a violin - unless you get to the top echilons where the violin (as the tenor) are supreme.  Much easier to blow on a trombone and out bass your voice to defeat the other guys...

August 2, 2010 at 08:35 PM ·

 Only hairy hands will make me change my mind. Real men have got hairs on the hands and chest and I have not seen any of them with a harp between their legs.

August 2, 2010 at 08:53 PM ·

 In bluegrass music we often would have a game.  A bunch of young men get together with fiddles, rosin up our bows a whole ton so dust would fly everywhere, and play the chorus of some ditty over and over again, faster and faster, untill all cou could hear was a bunch of squeeking and some strings getting broken.  This was men dominating over men with violins.

There is also a lot of sword fighting to be done with the bows if you are still but a boy.

August 2, 2010 at 09:17 PM ·

"While I'll concede that the flute stereotype is common, the only two superstar flautists i can think of would be Jean-Pierre Rampal and Sir James Galway, both of whom regularly appear in tails rather than diva dresses."

Lisa, glad you mentioned Rampal. I'm friends with his last student, a guy, and a virtuouso...James Strauss. He is definately not a girl!

August 2, 2010 at 10:28 PM ·

"I just don`t get all this Katate stuff.   How can you enjoy breaking blocks of wood and concrete tiles with your hands ?"

It helps quite a bit in my practicing. When I get frustrated, I put the fiddle down, and break a much less expensive piece of wood!

BTW, re the harp, on a practical level, it ought to be a big, burly guy playing it. That elegant looking and sounding thing weighs about 90 lbs! It's not so easy to pluck, either. But of course, more than 90% of harpists in my experience are female. It is very lovely, and, I suppose, womb-like. I suppose the violin and bow could be conisdered phallic symbols - but so could most wind instruments. Then again, I heard that Freud, himself, said that "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar". But why is it that about 90% of those female harpist are blonde?

August 2, 2010 at 11:28 PM ·

Upon thinking about how many were boys and how many were girls in my elementary orchestra there were way more girls  playing violin then the boys. I was just too cool to care. I've always had my own perception of what was cool and not cool, I may have got teased about taking ballet when I was younger, but I didn't care. I found it fun and interesting. The same with the violin.

August 3, 2010 at 01:17 AM ·

Girls dig guy's who can play the violin!

August 3, 2010 at 01:23 AM ·

Raphael, isn't the flowing blonde hair shorthand for "angelic"?

August 3, 2010 at 03:41 AM ·

"I suppose the violin and bow could be conisdered phallic symbols"

Ok, makes sense... the bow, the fingerboard (neck)...even glissando when played  ; ) But I should mention that this glissando technique is yucky old fashioned and stricktly forbidden!!! But I know every violinist does it secretely at home to imitate the old farts who used to do it when it was allowed...   

but how do you explain the curves and the "waist" of the instrument similar to a woman's body...

OMG, perhaps violin is an hermaphrodit then...   run!!!  Kleinfelter syndrom???

August 3, 2010 at 06:11 AM ·

Emanuel Hurwitz used to recommend 'The Simplicity of playing the Violin' by Herbert Whone as essential reading material for  his students.Chapter 4 is entitled 'Bow and Violin as Male and Female' so you can see that the concept is not new.

August 3, 2010 at 02:32 PM ·

Here are a few of my observations to toss into the mix of this interesting discussion. Public school orchestras began to appear in the last decade of the 19th century. From the research I've done, these were mostly dominated by male players on all instruments, and the number of female conductors in the entire country could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Students in those days could, and often did, stay in school until they were 21, so some of these public school orchestras were very good. Then World War I came along, and in the great wave of patriotic fervor that it created, many young men began to drop out of school to join the army. To keep the students in school, marching bands were formed, and the students were given uniforms and drilled regularly. These bands were used at patriotic events and helped to satisfy the needs of the young male students to serve their country. It is precisely at this point that public school band programs ascended over orchestral programs. In my part of the world anyway, it was band instruments that tended to be characterized as masculine and orchestral stringed instruments began to acquire a feminine connotation. One needed only to look at their respective rosters to see why.

In the 70s, I showed a film of Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic to my middle school orchestra. I forgot the piece-- something by Sibelius, I think. To my amazement, they watched in complete silence! (We're talking 7th and 8th graders here) Afterward, I asked what had impressed them about the movie, and their response was, and I quote, "They're all men!" It wasn't until that point that I realized that my string sections consisted almost entirely of girls.

Not long ago, I saw clips of the New York Philharmonic playing in North Korea. As far as I could tell from the news videos, the orchestra seemed to have a large number of women in the string sections.

The wheel turns.

August 3, 2010 at 04:24 PM ·

 I enjoyed your walk through history, it is very enlightening. The 7th & 8th graders answering "They're all men" is not surprising because that little devil potion called testosterone has not fully kicked in, that will leave them open for a sucker punch administered by the fairer sex. A few years later they would have been standing on their seats to watch a womens band playing "mens" instruments.

August 5, 2010 at 12:10 PM ·

Take the child to a few concerts and he'll see there that violins, violas and cellos are played by both men and women....I've never seen a female bass player although I'm sure there must be women who do play one...maybe that's a male instrument...

Show him an Andre Rieu DVD...Andre proudly plays the violin and conducts, though must admit the larger proportion of the violinists, violists and cellists in JSO are women...

August 5, 2010 at 01:01 PM ·

When I was growing up in New York City about 70 - 60 years ago, I was the only kid violin player I knew - until I joined the kid program at MSM, and I didn't really know any of those other kids in my theory class there. Violin playing had nothing to do with my social life, and it is possible that none of my friends knew I played.

When we moved from New York to Frederick, MD I was 12 and in middle school, I learned that other kids played the violin - and other sports too. We all joined the HS orchestra a couple of years later - no problems. Music has been central to my "social life" ever since.

But, if your own mother thinks it's girly, what can you do? How about cello - even more girls play that. Perhaps it's the music thing more than the particular instrument.


August 5, 2010 at 03:18 PM ·

Esperanza Spalding is a female bassist.  She was the cover girl on the January 2010 issue of "the Strad", and they had a nice article about her.

August 6, 2010 at 12:15 AM ·

Alot of guys think Im gay because of long hair, violin, ... But I think guys like that miss out on alot of really great things and should be more open minded. Im not gay.

August 6, 2010 at 12:24 AM ·

LA Chamber Orchestra's principal bass retired recently, named Susan Ranney.

August 6, 2010 at 02:16 AM ·

 Hah! Definitely an issue with the Massachusetts "microculture"...especially, but not only, in the medical world (which dominates the state). Folks here think they are so "liberal," but they are in fact bound by Puritan Stereotypes. How many of my dates' fathers (including the father of my wife, a Harvard Med Professor) said " WHAT, you're dating a, a, a ...Violinist? Aren't they all.... (insert sexual put-down here)?"  They never seemed to notice that I was dating their daughters, and was therefore probably, er, actually heterosexual! Seriously, classical music is much more a "Germanic" cultural thing, and the English/Irish/Southern Italian descendants dominant in Boston may appreciate it from afar, but it is hardly something they really respect. The Celtics and the Patriots are High Culture around here. Part of the reason I went into business for my "real" life....

August 6, 2010 at 05:23 PM ·

re:  his mother told me that the violin and flute are definitely perceived as girls' instruments, which means the violin would be a hard sell to the kid.

I think this is more of the mother's issue than the child's.

August 8, 2010 at 12:18 AM ·

Hmmm.  As many people have said, probably the best thing to do is punch up a video of Oistrakh and play it repeatedly whilst asking, "Does this bloke look anything like a girl?"

As to harps not being played by men (with hairy arms, etc.)


That should do the trick.

Female Double Bass players?  I can't believe that nobody seems to have mentioned Chi-chi Nwanoku.  I believe she's rather well known.



August 8, 2010 at 12:36 AM ·

Carol King-Female Bass Player! Peggy Foster, Bass Player for the Runaways (Joan Jett, Lita Ford...she is a friend of mine)!

August 8, 2010 at 12:41 AM ·

@Matt ;

Well you can knock me down with a feather. And he has a beard too.

Nice one Matt.  


August 9, 2010 at 09:29 PM ·

Hahaha! I don't know why but when I decided I wanted to play the violin, I had the slight fear that only girls play it. But honestly, I don't know a single male violinist in my country O_o
Don't know where that misconception came from but my mom thought violin is for girls as well..


August 10, 2010 at 12:33 AM ·

@ Dion,

No problem.  It might be a Celtic thing (don't forget that the Irish national musician is old O'Carolan), I believe that the lad in the video is Scots and as for the Welsh and the bardic thing....

Now the hunt is on for a really, really macho oboe player....   :-)



August 10, 2010 at 02:14 AM ·

Violin is a very sexy instrument... It can be male or female and sometimes transgender... Just look at the scene in Le violon rouge with the fictive English  violinist portraying in fact Paganini ,women and the Tziganes ( the devilish part). Milstein recalled in his bio a famous violinist,Jan Kubelik, and the women going wild as if he was a rock star,  trowing all their jewels on stage.

Think about Ginette Neveu and her amazing sound, masculine and feminine in terms of beauty,or the sweetness of David Oistrach. Well, in Canada, young boys like me were supposed to be playing hochey and football, not the violin. I had to do everything in sports in order to be accepted by the roughs ones in school and devoted myself to wrestling in which I am still quite involved today. A very famous dancer here, Nico Archambeault, suffered a lot as a kid of "Gay"bashing because he was involved in modern dance. He is straight and leads a foundation to help young people who are excluded because they are more sensitive to art in general. I believe that teachers at school should not tolerate this kind of behaviours. When young students,with the connivence of the responsable staff, do act like predators, sometimes it can lead to unexpected and tragic consequences. Violin, Flute or Tubas have no sex. All instruments have a main purpose: to celebrate music and  mankind. But still,we adults act like "Machos" towards our children, especially males, and sport is still number one to educate them that way... Not all the sports of course, because swimming or gymnastic and many olympic disciplines are not considered rude enough. This mentallity must change...

Violin and music is the most beautiful thing in my life. It is suitable for all chldren, male or female...and I would specifically recommend it to the ones who have a tendency to be irrespectful towards others and women.  I would teach them that if they play football,they do not need to be rude towards sensitive guys and how to be respectful of the woman. These horrible things we hear about gays, women, racist comments, in the locker room or in the bars should not be allowed and tolerated. But this starts with education first....

August 10, 2010 at 10:41 AM ·

 @Matt ;

"The hunt is on for a really macho oboe player"

Matt they are nocturnal creatures usually found between the double reeds which is their habitat. They have this strange ability to breath in and out at the same time, and making a nasal twang that is irresistible to the females in the single reeds. If you can find one let us know, it could be the species Homo Macholippicus Obonoxios thought to be extinct.

Happy hunting  

August 10, 2010 at 02:26 PM ·

The violin is in no way a girls instrument. I think the reason it is viewed that way is because(at least in my experience) most players in any school orchestra are girls. However if you think about there is no lack of male violinists in the world. Heres a few past and present:
Mark Wood
David Garrett
Joshua Bell
Shlomo Mintz
Charlie Daniels
J.S. Bach

Philippe Hirschhorn

Niccolo Paganini
and there are a lot more.

August 10, 2010 at 03:40 PM ·

Vivaldi always played with a bunch of girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 10, 2010 at 10:29 PM ·

@ Dion

"Matt they are nocturnal creatures usually found between the double reeds which is their habitat. They have this strange ability to breath in and out at the same time, and making a nasal twang that is irresistible to the females in the single reeds. If you can find one let us know, it could be the species Homo Macholippicus Obonoxios thought to be extinct.

Happy hunting "

Thanks for adding to my cleaning chores today.  I really shouldn't drink tea whilst reading this forum.  :-)



August 10, 2010 at 11:19 PM ·

@Matt ;

You have already discovered Homo Harpicondria Hairiplexis. Think what this new discovery will mean, if you can prove that Obonoxios does exist. Strapping young lads who now think the oboe is a girly instrument will have a roll model to change their minds.


PS  Don't spill the tea on the keyboard.

August 11, 2010 at 04:13 AM ·

Violin is now cooler than ever, every genre of music being played. A really great time for kids wanting to play.

August 14, 2010 at 07:28 PM ·

@Matt ;

The hunt is over for a really macho oboe player. The clip proves that the oboe is not only played by the refined ;


The genus Obonoxios is still around. Keep your daughters inside, they may be lured by a werewolf on the double reed.



August 15, 2010 at 06:05 PM ·

If one of my daughters ever brings this oboe player home, something has gone seriously wrong with their musical education.

August 15, 2010 at 07:51 PM ·

Dion Said.

"The hunt is over for a really macho oboe player. The clip proves that the oboe is not only played by the refined ;


The genus Obonoxios is still around. Keep your daughters inside, they may be lured by a werewolf on the double reed."

Good grief!  Whilst I wouldn't say "macho" with regard to that oboe player, it's certainly an *ahem* "interesting" find.

One wonders if professional help is available in their area......



August 15, 2010 at 08:27 PM ·

Terrible!  I will stay away! (lol) Was it a joke or do they really sell this on cd???


August 15, 2010 at 09:38 PM ·

 @Bart ;

If your daughter is a single reed she might want to double up, and her music education will be at serious risk of being 'non compos mentis'  to her. Only violin players will be immune, they are not interested in bearded men.

August 17, 2010 at 11:28 PM ·

 I have about 30 students in my private studio.  Currently, more than half are boys.  But this number has been known to change in the past.  I teach in San Diego, CA which is an area known for it's large sophisticated cultural component.  I think the instrument is gender-neutral.  If a boy has any doubts, show them an electric violin or an ELO concert and they're usually sold.

August 18, 2010 at 03:04 AM ·

My studio usually runs 3-1 girls to boys, and that isn't out of line with my region.

The boys (and men) I have taught and do teach don't have a problem with violin being perceived as a "girl" instrument.  (What was Anne Marie's word?  Fifi?  Hilarious!)  They just want to play.

The old photos of the all-men professional orchestras seem quaint now.  The business has changed, with not only gender barriers obliterated, but racial ones too.  This can only be good for the survival of the art. 

Wouldn't it be nice to see the gender barriers brushed away for the podium too...

August 18, 2010 at 05:03 PM ·

Fifi in french = sissy in English... I do not like these words, because   they are used to discredit people ... Ginette Neveu was quite masculine in her look and  playing...Oistrach never hold back is "feminized sound " . But Anne-Marie used the expression just as a figure of style and in a gentle manner. At 16, I was already very much involded in  olympic wrestling competition and I am a masculine person...not a macho. But still, when I was hanging around with my violin at school, other guys made fun of me and called me "FIFI", even with my 200 pounds of muscle...

Violin is for everyone to enjoy and can be very seductive,... Seductive as much as a woman, as much as a man... It becomes an extension of what we are as a person. Always amazing...

August 31, 2010 at 07:07 AM ·

 I find these gender stereotypes mind boggling. Even if a person isn't well versed in classical music, I don't understand what makes an instrument more masculine or more feminine.

What an odd world we live in.

August 31, 2010 at 09:08 AM ·

 Daniel if you speak German where even the furniture is classified in gender you will really know how odd the world is.

August 31, 2010 at 08:47 PM ·

My son has played for 10 years, has NEVER been teased about it, and LOTS of girls think it's really cool that he plays so well.  Violin is for EVERYONE!

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