The purpose of this study is to analyze the stereotypes surrounding four wind instruments (flutes, oboes, clarinets, and saxophones), and the ways in which those stereotypes propagate through various levels of musical professionalism in Western culture. In order to determine what these stereotypes might entail, several thousand social media and blog posts were analyzed, and direct quotations detailing the perceived stereotypical personality profiles for each of the four instruments were collected. From these, the three most commonly mentioned characteristics were isolated for each of the instrument groups as follows: female gender, femininity, and giggliness for flutists, intelligence, studiousness, and demographics (specifically being an Asian male) for clarinetists, quirkiness, eccentricity, and being seen as a misfit for oboists, and overconfidence, attention-seeking behavior, and coolness for saxophonists. From these traits, a survey was drafted which asked participating college-aged musicians various multiple choice, opinion scale, and short-answer questions that gathered how much they agree or disagree with each trait describing the instrument from which it was derived. Their responses were then analyzed to determine how much correlation existed between the researched characteristics and the opinions of modern musicians. From these results, it was determined that 75% of the traits that were isolated for a particular instrument were, in fact, recognized as being true in the survey data, demonstrating that the stereotypes do exist and seem to be widely recognizable across many age groups, locations, and levels of musical skill. Further, 89% of participants admitted that the instrument they play has a certain stereotype associated with it, but only 38% of people identify with that profile. Overall, it was concluded that stereotypes, which are overwhelmingly negative and gendered by nature, are indeed propagated, but musicians do not appear to want to identify with them, and they reflect a more archaic and immature sense that does not correlate to the trends observed in modern, professional music.
- Stereotypical Analysis of Wind Instruments in College-Level Concert Band
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