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Trump-et Bias

A study examining gender bias toward musical instrument choice was released by the Royal Albert Hall this week, in advance of female trumpeter Alison Balsom's return to the venue on 17 March 2017.

Two thousand adults were asked whether they thought certain musical instruments were more likely to be played by a man or a woman. The trumpet, whose extended playing technique includes 'growling' and 'lip-slurs', shares the same bad press with its stateside namesake, the research reveals.

Brass instruments, it appears, are regarded as being very much the preserve of men. Specifically, only two per cent of respondents associated the trumpet with women, and only three per cent of those surveyed regarded the horn and the tuba as instruments likely to be played by the fairer sex.

The bias it seems, goes both ways. According to the research, the playing of string instruments is - for the most part - seen as feminine. Only three per cent of respondents considered the violin as a masculine choice, while the harp is considered overwhelmingly as an instrument likely to be played by women, with just two per cent saying they would ever expect to see a man playing one.

Lucy Noble, Director of Events at the Royal Albert Hall, believes gender bias toward instrument choice needs to be less Trump and more in tune with Balsom's style. Noble said: 'I see it all the time. Brass sections within orchestras are always heavily male, equally the strings are generally women and that is because we, consciously or not, guide our children toward a "type" of instrument ... and it's wrong.

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

Alison Balsom said: 'I'm delighted to be headlining at the Royal Albert Hall this March, as part of the Love Classical series. It's such a fantastic opportunity to showcase everything the trumpet has to offer, from the baroque trumpet through to a brand new composition and collaboration with Gabriel Prokofiev for trumpet and turntables - there's something for everybody. This concert is made extra special by some of my closest friends joining me onstage: the incredible Bryn Terfel and Hannah Stone, Guy Barker, David Goode and The Balsom Ensemble will all add their unique touch to the evening.'


Posted: 13 February 2017 by Sophie McIntosh / Good Relations

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