Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Music and Woman

When were women allowed to play music publicly? During Shakespeare’s life, young men would play the roles of women because they had higher voices. Women weren’t allowed to perform publicly in plays. Did this restriction run parallel with the restriction of women in music? (my question for class tomorrow)
The most interesting part of the article about Tine Thing was how she said that her sex had never been an issue during her career but looking at how she said it showed her gendered speech, which she used to qualify herself. Reading this article after learning about gendered speech exposed some underlying feelings she had which I would have overlooked. Even in classical music, where I thought that music did the selling and not attraction, men are objectifying women and telling them that they aren’t as good as men. Similar to today's pop culture where any attractive singer is immediately objected and created as a sex symbol in music videos. So here’s a link to Tine playing in an all-women orchestra; it’s pretty good. (
It’s a shame that we will never be able to hear close to all of the music written by women throughout history because it was not patroned by men. Some women were lucky to have fathers or brothers or another male who justified their actions and supported them. It was interesting to see even Mr. Huntington fall trap to qualifying the women composers fortune and fame in terms of their male patron’s benevolence. It showed that even we, and his textbook, have been trained in a way that puts down women’s accomplishments by qualifying through any male involvement. Everyone should be given equal chance to create music, especially since the first child prodigy was, in fact, a girl and not a boy.
As a musician myself, I have noticed no correlation between sex and skill. I have played in my middle school band with boys who were very gifted, but I have also played with boys who were terrible. The same is true with girls. When I played in the regional honors band, I was the second chair, surrounded by two girls. Which means that one had scored higher than I did in the tryout. Down the line the trombone section was split evenly by sex, but often the girls were in higher seats. Mainly, skill was determined by passion, and preteen-teenage boys show little passion for anything, so girls at that age are often better. What has shocked me is that I have never had a female instructor or director. I have always been taught and conducted by a male. And now that I am conducting the govs orchestra in the spring concert for one piece, I do see that command and physical presence required. I understand how someone who believes that women are not as strong and authoritative as men can justify keeping women from conducting, but I think it’s crap. The band will respect and follow a leader who is dedicated, passionate, and striving with the band to create music whether or not the one in front of them is a man, woman, child, robot, lizard-man, a stick, or even me.

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