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Title:  Big  Boys  Don’t  Cry  (Or  Sing):  Gender,  Misogyny,  and  
Homophobia  in  College  Choral  Methods  Texts  
Author(s):  Julia  Eklund  Koza  
Source:  Koza,  J.  E.  (1993-­‐1994).  Big  boys  don’t  cry  (or  sing):  
Gender,  misogyny,  and  homophobia  in  college  choral  methods  
texts.  The  Quarterly,  4-­5(5-­‐1),  pp.  48-­‐64.  (Reprinted  with  
permission  in  Visions  of  Research  in  Music  Education,  16(5),  
Autumn,  2010).  Retrieved  from  http://www-­  

It   is   with   pleasure   that   we   inaugurate   the   reprint   of   the   entire   seven   volumes   of   The  
Quarterly   Journal   of   Music   Teaching   and   Learning.     The   journal   began   in   1990   as   The  
Quarterly.     In   1992,   with   volume   3,   the   name   changed   to   The   Quarterly   Journal   of   Music  
Teaching  and  Learning  and  continued  until  1997.    The  journal  contained  articles  on  issues  
that  were  timely  when  they  appeared  and  are  now  important  for  their  historical  relevance.    
For   many   authors,   it   was   their   first   major   publication.     Visions   of   Research   in   Music  
Education   will   publish   facsimiles   of   each   issue   as   it   originally   appeared.     Each   article   will   be  
a  separate  pdf  file.    Jason  D.  Vodicka  has  accepted  my  invitation  to  serve  as  guest  editor  for  
the   reprint   project   and   will   compose   a   new   editorial   to   introduce   each   volume.     Chad  
Keilman  is  the  production  manager.    I  express  deepest  thanks  to  Richard  Colwell  for  granting  
VRME  permission  to  re-­publish  The  Quarterly  in  online  format.    He  has  graciously  prepared  
an  introduction  to  the  reprint  series.  
Big Boys Don't Cry
(Or Sing): Gender,
Misogyny, And
HOlI1ophobia In College
Choral Methods Texts

By Julia Eklund Koza

University of Wisconsin-Madison

horal methods texts, that is to say, than half of the texts contained such refer-

C books and articles addressing the

multifarious details of directing a cho-
ral ensemble, often playa role in the college
ences.3 Patterns emerged among those that
did, however, in the topics addressed and in
the assumptions made about gender; most
training of choral educators. These texts rep- texts focused attention on males. In the fol-
resent what some scholars have labeled "le- lowing analysis I draw a single strand from
gitimate knowledge,"! the expert knowledge my larger investigation and examine discus-
recognized as essential to success in choral sions of what some believe is among the
directing. Choral texts, like all others, draw most difficult problems facing choral direc-
from larger systems of ideas, or discourses. tor/teachers today: missing males, a shortage
They can reflect, reinforce, and challenge of males in choral music programs+ From
dominant discourses, and they also can bring these discussions, I conclude that the vast
new or alternative discourses into wider cir- majority of current texts, and the discourses
culation. Prompted by curiosity about from which they draw, are highly problem-
whether gender and gender-related issues are atic from a socialist feminist perspective. In
being discussed in current choral texts, I re- general, references to gender reflected and
cently examined a collection of texts pub- reinforced discourses that are both misogy-
lished between 1982 and 19922 I sought to nistic and homophobic; I argue that the rein-
establish whether the subject of gender was forcement of dominant gender discourses
ever broached, what was said about gender contributes to the perpetuation of unequal
when it was addressed, and how gender-re- power relations, which, socialist feminists as-
lated issues were explained. I analyzed the sert, are at the heart of the different oppres-
references I located, and the discourses from sions of women and gay men.
which they drew, from a socialist feminist I begin with a brief discussion of the two
perspective. theories that informed my analysis: a social-
I examined a substantial number of texts in ist feminist theory of gender, articulated by
search of references to males or females as a Alison ]aggar, and a post-structural theory of
group and to masculinity or femininity; less gender as performance, formulated by Judith
Butler. As part of the discussion, I outline
Julia Eklund Koza is Assistant Professor of Mu- some criticisms socialist feminist and post-
sic at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. structuralist theorists working in gay and les-
Her research interests include issues in music bian studies have leveled at dominant gender
and music education that pertain to gender, discourses. Next, I describe the ideas for-
race, and social class. warded in the choral methods texts them-

48 The Quarterly Journal of Music Teaching and Learning

selves, focusing specifically on explanations mundane way in which genders are appropri-
of the missing males problem and proposed ated, theatricalized, worn, and done; it im-
solutions. Finally, I critique these explana- plies that all gendering is a kind of imperson-
tions and solutions, as well as the discourses ation and approximation. If this is true, it
seems, there is no original or primary gender
from which they draw.
that drag imitates, but gender is a kind of imi-
Theoretical Framework tation for which there is no original; ... 8
The many scholars who describe themselves Socialist feminists further claim that con-
as feminists do not necessarily hold similar structions of gender contribute to the per-
views on the subject of gender. Socialist petuation of various forms of oppression,
feminist gender theory, as articulated by Alison male dominance among them. Alison Jaggar
Jaggar, may differ markedly from theories ad- explains:
vanced by Marxist, liberal, or radical feminists, Socialist feminism claims all of the following:
as well as from those implicit that our "inner" lives, as well
in dominant gender dis- as our bodies and behavior,
courses. I draw my definition [T]he texts are structured by gender; that
this gender-structuring is not
of gender from Leslie Roman I examined drew innate but is socially imposed;
and Linda Christian-Smith,
from. and that the specific characteristics
who describe gender as the that are imposed are related
"rela tiona I categories of femi- reinforced sys- systematically to the histori-
ninity and masculinity at a cally prevailing system of or-
particular historic juncture."> terns of ideas that ganizing social production;
This definition is consistent tend to perpetuate that the gender-structuring of
with a major tenet of socialist our "inner" lives occurs when
feminist theory, the assump- unequal power we are very young and is rein-
forced throughout our lives in
tion that gender is a social relations and that a variety of different spheres;
construct. This assumption
foster the and that these relatively rigid
stands in opposition to claims masculine and feminine char-
that gender-structuring is bio- continued acter structures are a very im-
logically determined or is in portant element in maintaining
any other respect "natural." oppression of male dominance."
Post-structural theorist vvorrieri Oppression is perpetu-
Judith Butler expands on the ated, in part, through a
concept of social construc- and gay rneri. rigid binary gender system
tion by describing gender as that not only associates
a form of performancev in a masculinity with males and
discussion of gender and drag, she maintains femininity with females, but also ties males
that every performance of gender is an ap- and masculinity to power, dominance, and
proximation, an imitation lacking an origi- "the good." Traditional definitions of mascu-
nal.? She states that belief in a "proper" gen- linity and femininity, which have roots in
der for each sex is invariably a by-product of separate-sphere discourses, ascribe different
systems of compulsory heterosexuality: sets of interests, behaviors, activities, and
Drag is not the putting on of a gender that personality characteristics to each sex. Males
belongs properly to some other group, i.e., and masculinity are typically associated with
an act of expropriation or appropriation that strength, physical activity (e.g., athletics),
assumes that gender is the rightful property power, adventurousness, independence, ag-
of sex, that "masculine" belongs to "male"
gressiveness, assertiveness, rationality, intelli-
and "feminine" belongs to "female." There is
no "proper" gender, a gender proper to one gence, and bravery.l" They also are linked
sex rather than another, which is in some to public sphere endeavors such as careers
sense that sex's cultural property. Where that outside the home and, John Fiske maintains,
notion of the "proper" operates, it is always to maturity. Fiske writes, "'Be a man' is a
and only improperly installed as the effect of frequent admonition to young boys that re-
a compulsory system. Drag constitutes the quires them to behave more maturely than

Volume Iv, Number 4/ Volume V; Number 1 49

There is no question that boys are less likely to participate in choral
ensembles than girls. Statistics gathered in 1982 indicate that the ratio
of girls to boys in choral programs is about 5:2. What I will question
in the following analysis, however, are the explanations and
solutions given in the texts I exarrtined, as well as the understandings
of gender upon which the discussions were based.

their physical age.'·ll Finally, heterosexual dards, to become equal on male terms, to
orientation is assumed to be a component of attain accredited status."18
masculiniry.t- Andrew Ross summarizes a Females are not the only group portrayed
popular image of the red-blooded male: as "undesirable others" in traditional gender
"competitive, omnipotent, irredeemably sex- discourse. For example, the compulsory het-
ist, and emotionally illiterare.vl> erosexuality implicit in the binary system, to-
In the traditional binary gender system, gether with homophobia "inherent in 'norms'
males are constructed as rational, and fe- of maleness," help construct homosexuality,
males are characterized as ernotional.l+ This in this instance, male homosexuality, as the
binary fits Fiske's description of masculine undesirable other.l? Diana Fuss explains
narratives, in which "sensitivity is seen as a that a discourse of inside/outside is at work,
threat to masculinity .... Power is confined to not only in the masculine/feminine couple,
the men, sensitivity to the women.t+> His- but also in the hetero/homo binary, 20 In a
torically in the United States and England, discussion of homosexuality as the "outside,"
the rational/emotional binary has contributed Fuss states that "outside" is the contaminated,
to the perception that music, constructed as excluded, but necessary, other:
an emotional activity, is a feminine, and Homosexuality, in a word, becomes the ex-
therefore unsuitable undertaking for cluded; it stands in for, paradoxically, that
The binary gender system helps perpetuate which stands without. But the binary struc-
ture of sexual orientation, fundamentally a
the oppression of women not only by con-
structure of exclusion and exteriorization,
structing males as strong and powerful, but
nonetheless constructs that exclusion by
also by assigning values such that the mascu- prominently including the contaminated other
line/male becomes "the good" and the not in its oppositional logic. The homo in rela-
masculine/not male is deemed the "bad," the tion to the hetero, much like the feminine in
undesirable "other." Fiske writes, relation to the masculine, operates as an in-
These oppositions are patriarchal ones for dispensable interior exclusion - an outside
they carry the connotations derived from their which is inside interiority making the articula-
history that the "masculine" characteristics are tion of the latter possible, a transgression of
powerful and valued whereas the "feminine" the border which is necessary to constitute
ones are weaker and devalued. Our cultural the border as such."
development of masculine and feminine iden- Gayle Rubin asserts that ways of organizing
tities has built into it notions of male superi- sexuality, what she calls "sex-gender sys-
ority. tems," playa central role in the perpetuation
These "inferior" and "weak" characteristics of of male dorninance.e-
the feminine are repressed in the masculine
Of course, socialist feminists do not as-
psyche and exscribed from the masculine nar-
sume that domination results solely from sex-
As K. Overfield notes, the masculine/male gender systems. As Jaggar notes, they recog-
nize that domination is integrally related to
becomes the standard in traditional gender
means of production, specifically to capital-
discourse, the "baseline from which every-
ism; they conclude that at this moment in
thing else is measured" and is found to be
United States history, sweeping structural and
wanting - "deviant, prohibited, or an ex-
institutional change is needed23 In addition,
pression of 'otherness' .... Conversely, it is
however, some see links between capitalism
seen as an achievement to reach male stan-

50 The Quarterly journal of Music Teaching and Learning

and specific constructions of gender. Fiske, minds of the choral methods texts' authors,
for example, reveals one of these links in a yet these authors gave considerable attention
discussion of why an unattainable masculinity to the absence or shortage of males in sing-
is necessary for the continuation of capitalism: ing ensembles and to establishing effective
Masculinity becomes almost a definition of methods of recruiting and retaining males.
the superhuman, so it becomes that which Four explanations were given for the short-
can never be achieved. Capitalism needs this age of males:
gap between the material experience of men • The perception that singing is not an ap-
and the ideological construction of masculin- propriately masculine activity deflects boys
ity to keep men striving for more and more away from choral programs.
achievement in order to maintain the "natu- • Choral programs have not catered to male
ralness" of the ideological concept of interests and preferences; successful direc-
progress, which is so central to capitalism." tor/teachers take male interests into con
A feature of socialist feminist theory that sicleration; unsuccessful ones do not."
sustains an optimism not engendered by • The voice change sidetracks boys.
more biodeterministic views is the possibility • Boys avoid singing because they perceive
for change. In theory, whatever is socially it to be unrelated to their future career
constructed can be altered or even abolished. plans.
Indeed, socialist feminists consider the aboli- The first explanation was a popular one:
tion of femininity and masculinity to be a Males stay away from singing because they
necessary precursor to ending the oppression perceive it to be "feminine," "sissy," or not
of females.s> Further, as Jaggar notes, many "manly."31 Kenneth Phillips explained:
feminists believe that elimination of the com- "American culture remains rooted in a fron-
pulsory heterosexuality implicit in traditional tier mentality, and singing is not a part of
sex-gender systems also "would have an that traditional male image."32 Apparently
enormous impact on the system of male the belief that this perception plays a central
dominance.t-f role in males' reticence to sing was shared
In seeking a path toward transformation or not only by most of the authors making ref-
abolition of discourses that perpetuate op- erence to gender, but also by choral directors
pression, some feminists turn to Gramscian at large; Phillips quoted a study by Perry A.
explanations of how domination is main- Castelli that asked teachers to cite the primary
tained. Although Antonio Gramsci's concept reasons why boys leave choral programs.
of hegemony was formulated with social- Teachers said that "sex role endorsement (the
class relations in mind, it also can be useful attitude that males do not sing) and peer pres-
when considering gender relations. Gramsci sure" were the leading factors.33
argued that domination operates with the Contributors who discussed the perception
consent of those dominatedr-? according to that music is not manly were united in their
Jaggar, such consent results from a dominant cries for change. The answer to the prob-
group "projecting its own particular way of lem, the texts claimed, lay in restructuring
seeing social reality so successfully that its perceptions about music. Music was to be
view is accepted as common sense and as portrayed as a masculine activity; this trans-
part of the natural order by those who in fact formation was to be accomplished by linking
are subordinated to it."28 Those who take a singing to "manly" males and to interests and
Gramscian position emphasize that develop- activities presumed to be masculine. The
ing "alternative ways of perceiving reality suggested activities and role models provide
and alternative attitudes toward it" is a valu- a sketch of authors' understandings of mas-
able means of instigating change.s? culinity. For example, Phillips indicated that
athletic coaches (whom he assumed to be
The Missing Males Problem:
male) are good, masculine role models:
Explanations and Solutions Music teachers should stress that singing is a
Singing and Masculinity "masculine" activity. Adult male singers need
The potential harm resulting from sex-gen- to be introduced as role models: Ask athletic
der systems and from compulsory hetero- coaches if they sing and would be willing to
sexuality did not appear to have been on the help, or encourage older boys to serve as

Volume IV, Number 4/ Volume V, Number 1 51

models for younger boys. Recordings and taught does not seem grown-up or manly."37
pictures of males choruses also can be used In the second column, Roe indicated that in-
to encourage male interest in singing."
terest may be aroused by male teachers, and
Athleticism and maturity were routinely
by thus "emphasizing the manliness of sing-
linked to masculinity; Paul Roe, in an argu-
ing."38 His points implied that female teach-
ment favoring recruitment of athletes to cho-
ers, unlike their male counterparts, champion
ral programs, added strength to the list of
babyish or "unmanly" music and activities,
masculine attributes, He argued that the
Obviously, serving as a masculine role
presence of athletes brings prestige to the
model is not an option available to female
music program, and he apparently assumed
teachers; however, a passing remark by
that all athletes are male:
Sandra Mancuso on the recruitment of ado-
It is very important to the teacher of junior or
lescent males inferred that other tactics were
senior high students that the choral groups
recommended to women. Mancuso wrote,
include athletes. Get the coach to back the
choral program if you can .... The best male "A wink of an eye and a hug around the
singers in these two age groups are almost neck may hypnotize some, but getting boys
invariably athletes. The reason for this is ob- involved with music has been an eternal
vious: the athletes have the most mature battle for music educators.v-? Although hug-
bodies and are the strongest, most vital ging may be a questionable practice for ei-
people ... , The other reason for the impor- ther male or female teachers of adolescents,
tance of the athlete in the program is the it would probably be more unacceptable
prestige it gives to the music department.
when initiated by males, Winks, hugs, and
Other students are attracted because these
hypnotizing are part of a discourse of allure,
athletes are in the choir. If music is required
through the seventh or eighth grade, use and presumably allure is one of the recruit-
some of the athletes in "small ensembles" to ment practices female teachers have available
stimulate their involvement and interest in to them. It cannot be said with certainty that
choral music. These young men [my empha- Mancuso recommended these practices solely
sis] will then be much more likely to remain to female teachers; however, such a recom-
in vocal music when it becomes an elective 55 mendation would be consistent with stereo-
Leadership was another oft-cited attribute typed perceptions of how women secure
of masculine role models. Kenneth Miller power. John Fiske, for example, observed
linked masculinity to leadership when he that "women's bodies and sexuality are the
wrote, "The problem of convincing boys that main means open to them to achieve power
singing is sufficiently masculine may take a in a
little longer. It will help if student leaders Stressing commonalties between singing
sing in the vocal music program, but there and "masculine" characteristics or activities
are other ways [Q improve interest."36 What was advocated by some sources. Physicality
was not clear from Miller's statement is was among these shared "masculine" charac-
whether he believed that female student teristics. Phillips suggested, "Another way to
leaders will convince boys of the masculinity help boys view singing as a masculine activ-
of music or whether he simply assumed that ity is to stress the physical training required
all student leaders are male. by the psychomotor process"; he later elabo-
In a variation on the theme of male role rated, "By concentrating on the physical act
models, Roe stated that an absence of male of singing, students learn that singing re-
teachers contributes to lack of interest among quires the same preparation as do sports.r+l A
boys. In a discussion of how to recruit males similar argument was presented by Roe, who
to choral programs, Roe presented side-by- established a strong/weak, good/bad binary in
side lists, one enumerating causes of a young which strength and virility were deemed nec-
man's lack of interest in music, and a second essary prerequisites of good vocal tone:
giving ways that a young man's interest It takes strength and virility to produce a
might be "aroused," After mentioning "ab- good singing tone. Remember that when
sence of male teachers" in the first column, anyone becomes sick, weakness is immedi-
Roe added an explanation: "Music that is ately apparent to everyone through a weak,
shaky voice. Challenge them [boys] to hold

52 The Quarterly Journal oj Music Teaching and Learning

The fact that none of the choral methods texts directly addressed the
contributing role homophobia rnay play in the missing-males
problem, and that they resorted instead to euphemisms such as
"sissy" and "unmanly," is a measure of the oppressive strength of
homophobia at this moment in history. As Fuss writes, one 'way that
oppression operates is through a "domain of unthinkability and
unnameability. "

their ribs out and hiss smoothly for 45 sec- pride in the masculine sound of their emerg-
onds or more and hold phrases out to their ing bass clef tones. "45 Miller connected mas-
full duration. This kind of approach counter- culinity and adulthood to the changing voice
acts any feelings the young men may have
when he suggested that teachers should talk
that singing is sissy."
to adolescent boys in a manner stressing
Finally, organizing all-male ensembles,
such as barbershop quartets and male glee
... most boys look forward with great antici-
clubs, was sometimes touted as an effective pation to becoming men. The voice change
tactic for proving that singing is masculine. is one of the obvious signs that this is hap-
Miller placed all-male organizations at the top pening .... Your junior high male singers
of his list of helpful junior high choral groups: should always be referred to as "young men,"
There is only one type of ensemble that ap- not as "boys." Their manliness should be
pears to the writer to be particularly helpful stressed at every opportunity. There is no
in the junior high situation and that is the place in any choral program for the ridicule
Mens' Chorus, Male Glee Club, or Barbershop of any individual. This is particularly impor-
Quartet. Anything that can be done to dem- tant as your young men move through the
onstrate that singing is not an exclusively early adolescent years."
feminine activity will be helpful in encourag- To say that boys are merely looking for-
ing male singers to participate actively in ward to adulthood is to underestimate the
your program. The institution of an all-male loathing that the texts indicated boys have
group helps to instill this idea, and allows the
for high voices, a loathing Miller both under-
director to select some particularly robust
scored and sanctioned in his statement, "No
texts for the men to sing.?
red-blooded American male wants to sing a
In a recommendation to establish all-male
'girl's' part when he is in eighth grade."47
ensembles for young men, Roe added, "A
Roe expressed similar views; calling the
mixed choir may not interest them [young
changed voice "a symbol of manliness," he
men], especially if there are many women
observed, "Young people tend to be some-
and just a handful of men."44
what cruel and unkind by nature. Those
A related perception, the belief that high
whose voices do not sound manly, or are un-
voices are unmasculine and undesirable for
manageable, are likely to be ribbed unmerci-
males, was sometimes mentioned as a factor
fully by both sexes. "48 The pressure not to
contributing to boys' reticence to sing. Ac-
sing a high part, together with the desire to be
cording to the texts, boys often believe that
viewed as men, apparently leads some boys
the changed voice, symbolizing adult man-
with unchanged voices to limit their range or
hood, is more masculine than the un-
attempt to sing baritone. Roe asserted, "These
changed; furthermore, given a choice of
fellows are so anxious to become men that it
changed-voice ranges, boys prefer low ones.
is common for some of them with unchanged
Thus, boys regard the male voice range far-
voices to sing baritone until the instructor tests
thest from the female as the most masculine
voices and puts them into the proper sec-
and the most desirable. Frederick Swanson
tion. "49 Sue Fay Allen remarked that boys
referred to the link between masculinity and
with unchanged voices will try to limit their
low voice in his observation that boys "take
range to what they believe is "macho."50

Volume Iv, Number 4/ Volume 11;Number 1 53

Also underestimated in the interpretation boys from anything that might be construed
that boys are merely looking forward to as feminine, including girls themselves. Roe
adulthood is the strength of the negativity argued that the terms "soprano" and "alto"
directed at girls and women. To sound like should never be used with boys, even
a female was considered the ultimate humili- though they accurately describe boys' ranges:
ation: "The boy's unchanged voice will ordinarily
The young male desires nothing so much as be soprano, occasionally alto. These words
to sound and look like a man; and unless he must not be used, for the young man does
can be convinced that he is not detracting not want a feminine name attached to his
from his manly status, he will strongly resist
voice."55 Miller offered similar advice, sug-
any attempts to have him sing falsetto (which
gesting that parts be numbered or that desig-
sounds, to him, like a girl singing). POinting
out the effective use of falsetto ... helps take nations for adult males be used with all boys,
away the stigma of sounding like women. regardless of whether the boys' voices have
The manly teacher singing for them in falsetto changed: "It may be desirable, for social rea-
will also help." sons, to designate all of your men (whether
The texts offered various suggestions for they are soprano, alto, tenor, or bass) as ten-
dealing with negative perceptions of high ors, baritones, or basses. Only you need to
voices. For example, Allen encouraged know that your first tenors are really sopra-
teachers to help boys with unchanged voices nos, or that your first basses are altos. In this
use and be proud of their high notes 52 way you avoid giving any young man the
However, Miller indicated that boys may stigma of singing a 'girl's' part."56 Miller in-
need evidence in order to be convinced that dicated that under some circumstances, plac-
high voices are masculine; he advocated us- ing a boy with an unchanged voice in a
ing "manly" role models, including athletes, changed-voice section - giving him music
scholars, and men who have been successful that is too low for him to sing - is prefer-
in their careers: able to placing him among girls, even if a
It may be difficult to get boys who have tenor high-voice section is where he belongs.>?
voices ... to sing tenor parts if they think they Under no circumstances, according to Miller,
will be displaying characteristics that are not should adolescent boys with unchanged
manly. A teacher can help to counter such
voices be seated among girls:
an idea by pointing to a graduate or to a
In seating the group, arrange things so that all
more advanced student who sings tenor and
of your men may still sit together, even if
who has also excelled academically, in a
some of them sing some or all of the time
sport, or in a desirable vocation. It may even
with the women. It is socially unacceptable
be possible to point to a successful profes-
for young men at this age to be separated
sional singer who sings quite high in the
from the rest of the chorus men and placed
male vocal range. Basically, boys need to
among the women. 58
realize that singing any voice part which is
Successful Teaching: The
natural to them will be acceptable to other
Androcentric Classroom
people. They need to be assured that they
Some references implied that singing has
can use their voice in its best range and enjoy
themselves while singing in the choir." come to be perceived as feminine because
Although he was less specific in his defini- choral directors' decisions and practices have
tion of manliness, Roe also agreed that tenors not taken males into account. For example,
need masculine role models: the title of one of the articles, "Changing
Many times a young man won't want to sing Voices: Don't Leave Out the Boys," hinted
tenor because he feels it is less manly than it that the source of the missing-males problem
is to sing bass or baritone. The teacher can may be teachers thernselves.c? Although no
effectively remove this idea by citing the text openly blamed teachers for the shortage,
names of tenors the class knows. These ten- several indicated that it was not only within
ors need to have been extremely good at the power of teachers to solve the problem
some sport or have a manliness that everyone but also was their responsibility. These dis-
cussions were based on the assumption that
Some references advocated disassociating
good teachers have many boys in their pro-

54 The Quarterly journal of Music Teaching and Learning

grams. Teachers' belief that the presence of Gershwin's "I Got Plenty 0' Nuttin" for boys;
boys is a measure of the program's and the he suggested Haydn's "My Mother Bids Me,"
teacher's success was mentioned by Joy Brahms's "The Vain Serenade," and the
Lawrence: "Lullaby" from Menotti's 17.1eConsul for
Although all music teachers have different girls.65 The Gershwin piece is an exuberant
goals and ideals, each of them wants to be setting of a text championing independence
successful. Nowhere is this more evident and self-sufficiency. By contrast, passive, do-
than at state and national MENC conventions.
mestic fare was proposed for girls. For ex-
. As they interact with clinicians, attend lec-
ample, "My Mother Bids Me" is a sweet dia-
tures, and hear performances, choral teachers
often make comments like these .... "I really tonic piece in a gentle compound meter that
envy that conductor's success with those plaintively speaks of a young girl's sadness
kids!" "I can't get four boys to sing in the and distraction during the absence of her
chorus, and we have fifteen hundred students lover.
in our school. Why do thirty boys sing in Selecting texts that appealed to junior high
that chorus when there are only five hundred males was named as a special challenge.
students in their schooli''"? Miller stated, "In teaching junior high music,
Good teaching was assumed to ameliorate it is particularly important that the text be
or prevent shortages of males. Recipes for appealing to the men."66 He commented
good teaching included measures designed that if Renaissance texts mentioning "restless
to make the curriculum more male centered nymphs or dying swans" were used with this
and thus more interesting for males. One age group, the "men" would need to have
frequently discussed topic was selection of the texts explained to them.67 Underlying
repertoire. Males were assumed to have dif- this statement is the presumption that adoles-
ferent and more "masculine" musical tastes cent boys, unlike girls, would have little ex-
than females; catering to male tastes presum- perience or interest in emotional matters,
ably would solve the missing males problem. specifically in love.
Specific constructions of masculinity were Further evidence of what was or was not
reflected in the styles and texts males report- assumed to be masculine was found in Roe's
edly prefer. The same adjectives used to de- recommendation that teachers bypass songs
scribe "masculine" men, such as "virile" and about birds, daisies, and butterflies. Instead,
"strong," were often applied to "masculine" Roe advised directors to select texts "that will
music. For example, in a section on select- thrill the redblooded [sic] male."68 A source
ing pieces for adolescent boys, Roe wrote, designed for church choir directors indicated
"Young men of this age will accept SA music that song texts should help in determining
graciously, if the music is virile and interest- how parts are assigned; this reference said
ing.,,61 He listed "uninteresting rhythms or that boys will enjoy singing about "fish and
melodies" as factors that may contribute to a loaves" while girls will appreciate songs
young man's indifference toward singing62 about "butterflies and Teachers
By contrast, he said, "strong" rhythms and were advised not only to capitalize on differ-
"good" melodies will arouse interest.vf Spe- ences in musical preference by sex, but also
cific works were sometimes cited. Roe advo- to concentrate on what were constructed as
cated "manly music such as 'Stouthearted male preferences, on masculine music, if
Men," which was to be sung by an all-male they hoped to attract and retain males. Roe
chorus.64 The piece Roe suggested is a brisk observed that girls are willing to sing boys'
march that alludes to war, bravery, strength, preferences, and he implied that boys are not
boldness, and comradeship in battle. David inclined to rectprocate.Zi' Finally, Miller re-
Tovey, in a discussion of solo repertoire, in- ported that boys tend to like music that can
clicated that males and females should not be learned in a short time, an observation
sing the same songs because each sex pre- that directors presumably are to keep in
fers a different type of music; his suggestions mind as they select repertoire.Z!
provided clues about "masculine" and "femi- Not only was enlisting male role models
nine" repertoires. He recommended believed effective in convincing boys that

Volume IV, Number 4/ Volume V, Number 1 55

They accepted as conunonsense and natural traditional sex-gender
systems, as well as dominant 'vievvs about males, females, masculin-
ity, femininity, and (implicitly) sexual orientation. The texts
recognized boys' anxiety about being "normal" and attempted to
solve a problem evolving from that anxiety, but they never
interrogated "normalcy." The problem vvas presumed to be im-
proper placement of singing at the feminine end of the masculine/
feminine polarity; the polarity itself vvas unquestioned.

singing and high voices are masculine, it was class, and boys will accept discipline when
also cited as a sound pedagogical practice for they see it is being administered fairly and
attracting and retaining males. One passage without hostility. When a boy interrupts, for
indicated that combining male role models example, the teacher should correct him in a
direct, kind manner, and the teacher must
and food was an excellent approach for mak-
then see that the same problem does not
ing music interesting to adolescent males: happen again."
A young man's interest may also be aroused
A final element of a recommended male-
by inviting outstanding men in any walk of
based approach was the showering of special
life to tell about the important part music has
played in their lives; by visiting male soloists attention and privileges on boys. For ex-
or groups (male quartets are excellentljl ample, Miller suggested that all-male groups
by attending concerts given by college choirs be given ample opportunity to perform for
on tour (or local high school choirs or male other students in the school, including for girls'
choruses); and by social gatherings and par- ensembles-v In a passage discussing show-
ties for music groups, particularly if there is chorus auditions, Mancuso intimated that spe-
food available (undoubtedly one of the real cial attention should be given to boys' feelings;
interests of a boy this age)."
she implied that a higher standard of sensitiv-
Another element in the prescribed male-
ity needed to be demanded from girls than
centered approach was the presence of spe-
from boys if boys were to be retained: "When
cific programs or organizations that report-
choreographing, the students function as
edly would appeal to boys. Usually, all-male
couples many times. For that reason, a girl
ensembles were recommended; however,
making a statement during an interview such
Mancuso, in an article entitled "Where the
as "Oh, do I have to dance with him?' would
Boys Are: Show Chorus," argued that some
automatically disqualify her."77
mixed ensembles, the show choir in particu- The Traumatic Voice Change
lar, would draw boys in large nurnbers.Z> The third explanation for the missing males
Making the choral ensemble experience problem was that the voice change is a trau-
more male-centered involved specific peda- matic event that deters boys. Swanson ar-
gogical and curricular decisions. For ex- gued that learning to read a new staff and to
ample, a skill-and-drill method of teaching sing in a new range were formidable ob-
vocal technique was recommended by stacles78 Indeed, in Castelli's study, the
Swanson, who reported that this practice voice change was among the explanations
would parallel boys' experiences in athlet- for dropping out most frequently given by
ics.74 Miller, in a discussion of classroom boys thernselves.Z?
management, outlined dynamics that revolved All-male organizations were highly recom-
around boys only; girls were never mentioned: mended as a solution to this problem, as was
It is always best for the teacher to talk to
delicate treatment of boys on the part of di-
boys directly. Boys usually prefer brief, clear
rectors. Miller warned that if directors do not
comments which do not require them to sort
out subtle ideas or suggestions. They also
attend carefully to matters such as proper
expect the teacher to make them behave in voice assignment and selection of repertoire

56 Tbe Quarterly Journal of Music Teaching and Learning

in a suitable vocal range, boys will be lost.80 are at least ten all-male choruses. In top
Although Roe did not state his own opinion symphony orchestras, bands, and jazz en-
on the value of segregated organizations, in a sembles, we find many more men than
discussion of arguments made by proponents
Swanson also rejected the notion that Ameri-
of segregation, he remarked that the voice
cans do not approve of male singers and
change is a disconcerting event:
Advocates of boys alone-girls alone say the provided a string of well-known names to
young man is willing to sing soprano or alto, support his view:
but not with young women. It is less embar- Shallwe say that the American public does
rassing to the one with the unmanageable not approve of male singers as much as fe-
voice to have only men in the class. They male? If so, explain the popularity of Elvis
understand his problem and singing seems Presley, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Perry
more manly, somehow, in a male chorus." Como, not to mention the Beatles and their
Males and Their Careers American imitators. Also explain the popular-
Finally, Phillips, in his discussion of ity of Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.
Why is it that the Robert Shaw Chorale fea-
Castelli's study, reported that irrelevance to
tures not only mixed choral singing but large
career plans was a reason boys often gave
press runs of "The Men of the Robert Shaw
for dropping out of choir.82 Phillips re- Chorale?">
sponded to this explanation by advising
Analysis: Incomplete Explana-
teachers to emphasize career opportunities
for males in music. Although he used the tions and Flawed Solutions
gender-neutral term "students" in one portion Incomplete Explanations
of the reference, he offered his advice under There is no question that boys are less
the heading "Keeping Boys Singing," and likely to participate in choral ensembles than
there is little doubt but that he was primarily girls are. Statistics gathered in 1982 indicate
concerned with how to combat boys' percep- that the ratio of girls to boys in choral pro-
tions of their future career options: grams is about 5:2.86 What I will question in
The issue of occupational relevance is also a the following analysis, however, are the expla-
good topic for class discussion. The music nations and solutions given in the texts I ex-
industry is a billion-dollar enterprise that em- amined, as well as the understandings of gen-
ploys countless numbers of males. Many stu- der upon which the discussions were based.
dents are exposed only to those entertainers One shortcoming of all texts contending
popularized on MTV,most of whom are that boys avoid music because they perceive
males. Students need to learn about opportu- it to be feminine was their failure to fully ex-
nities in the music industry, professional per-
plore the feared and undesirable feminine
formance careers, and the music teaching
"other." Absent from the texts' discussions of
The Rejected Explanations males' fears, for example, was any indication
Swanson unquestionably rejected a few of the multiple and coded meanings evoked
possible causes of the missing males prob- when the terms "feminine," "sissy," or "un-
lem. First, he said shortages were not due to manly" are applied to males. What is the
a lack of musical giftedness in boys. To sup- "undesirable other" boys so clearly fear and
port his statement, he reminded readers that wish to avoid? Because femininity is
the greatest musicians have almost always stereotypically linked to females, the boys'
been male: responses may be grounded in gynophobia.
Are we going to offer the excuse that boys Avoidance of "female" activities by males has
are not as musicallygifted as girls, that boys been reported in non-music educational re-
don't like to sing because they are less tal- search, for example, in work completed by
ented, musically speaking? There is no evi- Askew and Ross. In observations of boys
dence to support that claim. For every fa- and girls in British primary schools, these re-
mous female composer, you can nam~ 20 searchers found that boys shunned activities
males. To match every top-level female con-
or interactions they associated with females:
ductor, you can name a dozen males. For
It seemed to us that boys have a greater need
any all-female choir that tours professionally
than girls to identify certain activities as male
or is heard on commercial recordings, there

Volume IV, Number 4/ Volume V, Number 1 57

Acknowledging the role that homophobia, in addition to misogyny,
may play in boys' reticence to sing may shed light on why the missing
males problem has been so intractable.
or female. A consequence of this seemed to in history. As Fuss writes, one way that op-
be that boys would often not only assume pression operates is through a "domain of
dominance over activities they have identified unthinkability and unnameabiliry.w-
as "male," but also avoid those identified as
Explanations that pointed a finger at teach-
"female. "87
ers were incomplete because they displayed
However, prevalent stereotypes also asso-
a narrowness of vision; they failed to address
ciate male homosexuality with femininity. As
history and social context. History indicates
Fiske notes, "unmanning" typifies "represen-
that the missing males problem has deep
tations of the [male] homosexual in a hetero-
roots, but the current texts ignored this fact.
sexual ideology."88 Recognizing that "sissy,"
One notable exception is a passage by
"feminine," and "unmanly" can allude to
Swanson that recounts his own experiences
male homosexuality leads to the realization
as a music teacher in the 1930s:
that homophobia, in addition to misogyny,
The scandal of few male students in vocal
may playa role in boys' reticence to sing.
music has been with LIS for at least half a cen-
Thus, this reticence may be based on discur- tury. In 1932, I taught my first classes in jun-
sive binaries that construct females, feminin- ior high school vocal music. I have been
ity, and male homosexuality as the undesir- conscious of the situation ever since.
able "other." Craig Owens, cited by Carole- I became aware of it as more than a local
Anne Tyler, maintained that homophobia and problem when, in my middle years, I served
misogyny, while not identical, are closely as a vocal-choral music adjudicator. Choir
linked.89 Askew and Ross noticed such a after choir had many girl singers, bur pitifully
few boys. I often spent an entire morning
link when they observed boys' behavior in
rating female choruses, but all too often there
all-male settings; in the absence of girls, boys were only one or two male glee clubs in a
heaped the scorn usually directed at girls district. The list of soprano and alto soloists
onto the least "manly," the "not real" boys, to be rated was long, the number of tenors
who were derisively called "poofters" (male and basses noticeably shorter."
homosexuals) and "cissies, "90 Thus, one Ahistoricity furthered the naive, but generally
connection between homophobia and mi- endorsed assumption (shared even by
sogyny is the assumption that women and Swanson) that teachers can solve this prob-
gay men share similar characteristics worthy lem themselves.
of a disdain that can be directed interchange- The third explanation, namely that the
ably at either group. voice change is a source of the problem, may
Acknowledging the role that homophobia, have merit, especially since boys themselves
in addition to misogyny, may play in boys' gave voice change as the primary reason
reticence to sing may shed light on why the why they drop out. However, contrary to
missing males problem has been so intrac- Swanson's assertion, the voice change is
table. In Askew and Ross' study, boys exhib- probably neither the sole nor the primary de-
ited tremendous anxiety about perceptions of terminant. There were no indications in texts
their sexual orientation; boys responded vio- other than Swanson that avoidance and attri-
lently and aggressively to insinuations that tion are limited to adolescent and post -ado-
they were gay.91 The fact that none of the lescent males.
choral methods texts directly addressed the The explanation that boys do not partici-
contributing role homophobia may play in pate in singing because they perceive it to be
the missing males problem, and that they re- irrelevant to their career plans indirectly al-
sorted instead to euphemisms such as "sissy" ludes to stereotypes linking males to public
and "unmanly," is a measure of the oppres- sphere activities such as employment outside
sive strength of homophobia at this moment the home. That some boys may give this ex-

58 The Quarterly Journal of Music Teaching and Learning

planation is not questioned here. What is equitable and lasting solutions to the missing
challenged, however, is the acceptance of males problem are based on changes in tra-
this explanation as truth. Boys enthusiasti- ditional constructions of gender or on the
cally embrace many other school activities abolition of gender altogether. This was not
holding little or no realistic promise of con- the tack taken in tile texts, however; instead,
tributing to future careers. Athletics is one all texts that explained the problem in terms
example, but activities more closely related of gender accepted and reinforced traditional
to singing can also be named. For example, binaries in their proposed solutions. In con-
there is no shortage of boys in bands, and trast to Butler's concept of gender as perfor-
bands presumably are no more or less re- mance, the texts simply assumed there is a
lated to careers than choirs are.94 Histori- gender, "which is in some sense that sex's
cally, however, bands have been bastions of cultural property." They accepted as
masculinity from which, until fairly recently, commonsense and natural traditional sex-
females largely have been excluded. Thus, gender systems, as well as dominant views
the gendering of musical activities is a more about males, females, masculinity, femininity,
plausible explanation of boys' musical and (implicitly) sexual orientation. The texts
choices than is music's career potential. recognized boys' anxiety about being "nor-
The fact that no attempt was made to ex- mal" and attempted to solve a problem
plore why a concern for career relevancy evolving from that anxiety, but they never
would not similarly deter girls indicates that interrogated "normalcy." The problem was
the author of the reference, like boys them- presumed to be improper placement of sing-
selves, accepted as commonsense and natu- ing at the feminine end of the masculine/
ral public/private sphere rhetoric that links feminine polarity; the polarity itself was un-
males to the public sphere. However, if we questioned. The proposed solutions involved
assume that girls are equally as concerned changes in perceptions about singing or voices
about careers as boys, then one may conjec- but not about gender or sexual orientation.
ture that girls participate in singing because The key to recruitment and retention lay in
they believe prospects in music are brighter identifying what is masculine and then linking
for them than for males, an assumption not the "masculine" to singing. Although several
supported by statistics from most music-re- references openly argued that singing is mas-
lated occupations. culine, and one suggested that it is both mas-
Of course, the career relevancy explanation culine and feminine, no text recognized that
is related to the highly debatable assumption like mathematics, sports, and needlework,
that the primary purpose of education is to singing is not intrinsically gendered.
prepare children for future employment. Reinforcement of traditional constructions
This assumption was not questioned by the of masculinity was evident in the role mod-
text offering this explanation, however. els, activities, and music the references rec-
Rather, solutions attempted to demonstrate ommended for recruiting and retaining
links between music and careers; advice rein- males. For example, the traditionally "mas-
forced rather than challenged the education- culine" characteristics sought in role models
for-employment assumption. included maturity, athleticism, leadership,
Flawed Solutions and success in career. Approbation of a ste-
Explanations of the shortage of boys var- reotypical connection between masculinity
ied, but the list of proposed solutions was and maturity was evident not only in discus-
short; all of these solutions, to some degree, sions of appropriate role models but also, for
drew upon and reinforced discourses that example, in passages emphasizing tile impor-
socialist feminists find problematic. For ex- tance of calling boys "men." Masculine mu-
ample, problems appeared in discussions of sic bore characteristics typically ascribed to
the need to prove that music is a masculine males themselves: It was energetic, strong,
activity. Faced with an issue clearly related "robust," bellicose, and even defiant; action
to dominant constructions of gender, a so- took precedence over sensitivity. Females
cialist feminist might suggest that the most and femininity were stereotyped as domestic,

Volume Iv, Number 4/ Volume V; Number 1 59

From the perspective of a feminist educator, the cries for a more
masculine or male-centered curriculurn are ironic and distressing;
ample research exists that indicates schooling already is overwhelm-
inglymale-centered and tends to pay far too little attention to females.

emotional, weak, passive, and soft; this ste- students, male teachers were not only
reotyping was especially evident in recom- deemed necessary, but also the best. By ar-
mendations concerning suitable repertoire. guing that music not taught by men would
By advising teachers who instruct boys to be dismissed by boys as unimportant or
avoid delicate, tender, or sensitive music, the childish, Roe reinforced the perception that
references sanctioned practices that perpetu- males teach the most important subjects.
ate the emotional illiteracy to which Ross, The unexamined assumption that the best
quoted earlier, alluded. The advice to imple- choral programs are those that attract many
ment an action or skill-based curriculum, and boys led to the endorsement as
the suggestion to emphasize the physicality commonsense and good of male-centered
of singing, were grounded upon and, in turn, approaches to teaching and of a masculine
reinforced dominant constructions of mascu- curriculum. The best choral organizations
linity - constructions based on gendered were all-male groups or mixed groups that
active/passive and rational/emotional bina- appealed to males. The good curriculum
ries. Placing an exhortation to emphasize was skill and drill based because that ap-
career opportunities in a section entitled proach reportedly was most effective with
"Keeping Boys Singing" reinforced a stereo- boys. Teachers were advised to use good
type that constructs careers as a singularly melodies because they would appeal to
masculine concern. Given sobering statistics boys, and this suggestion seemed to assume
on the underrepresentation of women in that girls are less discriminating in their musi-
many music-related occupations, especially cal preferences; however, if girls are social-
highly paid and prestigious ones, the deci- ized to define "good" in different ways than
sion to aim career exhortations primarily at boys, the "good" school repertoire nonethe-
males seems misdirected and anachronistic. less remained that which appeals to boys.
Of course, when references reinforced links Females' willingness to accept male prefer-
between males and careers, they also rein- ences and male reticence to reciprocate, a
forced connections between males and eco- phenomenon discussed in one passage, im-
nomic independence, a point worth consid- plies that males and females alike are social-
ering when assessing the full impact of ex- ized to equate the masculine with the good.
clusionary discussions of careers. The reference making an observation about
Not only were traditional constructions of girls' willingness to yield to male preferences
masculinity, femininity, males, and females did not challenge the wisdom of this yield-
portrayed as commonsense and natural, but ing; rather, it implied that the phenomenon
in addition, the masculine, the (heterosexual) will work to a teacher's advantage by mini-
male was rendered as the "good"; in particu- mizing conflict over whose preferences will
lar, the "red-blooded" male, the "manly" be honored. Of course, this reference raises
man, was the standard. Good singing tone the question of the purposes served by such
was a product of the "masculine" attributes socialization, a question not addressed in the
of strength and virility. The good, the suc- text itself.
cessful program was one replete with males, Suggestions to give males special care,
and good teaching was equated with that consideration, attention, opportunities, and
which attracted and retained males. These privileges were additional means by which a
assumptions were evident, for example, in male-centered curriculum was rendered
Roe's call for male teachers. Because they commonsense and good. From the perspec-
purportedly would attract and retain male tive of a feminist educator, the cries for a

60 The Quarterly Journal of Music Teaching and Learning

more masculine or male-centered curriculum Fuss put it, "most of us are both inside and
are ironic and distressing; ample research ex- outside at the same time."96
ists that indicates schooling already is over- One final noteworthy feature of the texts'
whelmingly male-centered and tends to pay explanations and solutions was their remark-
far too little attention to females.95 able similarity to those appearing in music
Swanson's argument that boys' lack of par- education materials published during the first
ticipation is not due to lack of giftedness, an quarter of the twentieth century. Apparently
argument he supported by asserting that the expert knowledge pertaining to the missing
world's best composers have been male, not males problem, as embodied in educational
only equated males with goodness but also materials for teachers, has changed little in
forwarded the exclusionary concept that a this century.P?
biological or genetic factor, possessed by Conclusions
some but not by others, is a prerequisite for As I have argued, nearly all the texts I ex-
success in music. Thus, he rejected the pos- amined drew from and reinforced systems of
sibility that males are innately inferior, but he ideas that tend to perpetuate unequal power
did not question the assumption that inferior- relations and that foster the continued op-
ity or superiority is innate. In his appeal to pression of women and gay men. Although
"giftedness," he did not recognize that dis- some people, perhaps those perceiving
courses of talent and genius are themselves themselves as having the most to lose and
social constructs, which historically have the least to gain, may argue that dominant
been used to explain and maintain male discourses are in no need of reconsideration,
dominance. socialist feminists join in a growing chorus of
Reinforcement of the feminine/female (the voices calling for change, both in and outside
not masculine) as the undesirable "other" of schools. Such cries for change may seem
was another problematic aspect of many pro- revolutionary; however, a commitment to
posed solutions. By catering to boys' aver- creating schools, and a society, where all
sions, many of these solutions not only ac- children feel welcome and respected, and
knowledged but also reinforced discourses where all can learn, stems from long-held
that construct femininity, females, and homo- democratic ideals. If "alternative ways of
sexual males as bad. Thus, these proposed perceiving reality" do, indeed, serve as pre-
solutions were misogynistic and, due to the cursors to change, then educators who are
multiple meanings of "feminine" discussed dedicated to democratic goals must explore
earlier, homophobic. For example, when the ways of fostering such alternative perception.
texts advised conductors to avoid "feminine" Challenging taken-for-granted assumptions
terminology or to seat boys away from girls, and scrutinizing ideas and practices regarded
they not only recognized the existence of as commonsense and natural are critical ele-
anxieties and stereotypes but also recom- ments of an agenda for change. Equity is-
mended capitulating to them. Construction sues need more attention than they currently
of the feminine as the "bad" was also evident are being given; problems in music educa-
in discussions of repertoire. Sensitivity, tion should be examined within their histori-
gentleness, delicacy, and tender emotions, as cal and cultural contexts; most importantly,
symbolized by butterflies, flowers, and birds, new ways of thinking about old problems
were the culprits. Often the underlying mes- must be explored.
sage was that big boys should sing, but they I have no magic solution to the missing
still should not cry; tender emotions repeat- males problem, but I suggest that as we
edly were deemed feminine and, thus, unde- grapple with this issue and others facing our
sirable. Physical, psychological, and discur- field, we constantly need to scrutinize the
sive distancing of males from the undesirable larger systems of ideas upon which our un-
feminine/female "other" frequently was en- derstandings and solutions are built. We
couraged. By accepting as a matter of have reached a moment in history when con-
course inside/outside rhetoric, however, structions of gender and representations of
these references masked the reality that, as many oppressed groups are being interro-

Volume Iv, Number 4/ Volume V; Number 1 61

gated, contested, and renegotiated; music Press, 1986.
education should be involved in this impor- Bass, Lisa P. "In the Swing of Things." Music
tant work. Socialist feminists and post-struc- Educators journal 68 no. 6 (February 1982):
49-50, 61-62.
tural theorists working in gay/lesbian studies Bennett, Peggy. "A Responsibility to Young
speak of alternative ways of thinking about Voices." Music Educators journal 73, no. 1
males, females, gender, and sexual orienta- (September 1986): 33-36.
tion. The time has come to listen. Cooper, Morton. "Prescriptions for Vocal
Health: Medication and the Voice." Music
Acknowledgment Educators journal 69, no. 6 (February 1983)
Portions of this article were read at the "Femi- 41-43.
nist Theory andMusic II" conference, held at the Cooper, Morton. "Prescriptions for Vocal
Eastman School of Music in June 1993. 1 wish Health: Finding the Right Vocal Register."
Music Educators journal G), no. 6 (February,
to thank Elizabeth Ellsuiortbfor her thoughtful 1983): 40, 57, 59, 61.
comments concerning an earlier draft. Cox, Dennis K. "Suzuki, Choral Speaking."
Notes Music Educators journal 71, no. 9 (May
l. See, for example, Michael Apple, Ideology 1985): 43-45.
and Curriculum (London: Routledge & Kegan Cox, James. "Choral Conducting: More Than
Paul, 1979),6 A Wave of the Hand" Music Educators jour-
2. Articles, new books, new editions of books. nal 75, no. 9 (May 1989): 26-30.
and reprints of books, published between 1982 Dwiggins, Rose Reeves. "One Step At A Time
and 1992, were considered. No claim is make for Show Choirs." Music Educators fournal
here to have examined every possible source. For 70, no. 6 (February 1984): 41-45
example, the scope of the indexes I searched was Goetze, Mary. "Wanted: Children to Sing
such that materials published by the American and Learn." Music Educators journal 75, no.
Choral Directors Association were not included. 4 (December 1988): 28-32.
The texts examined in this study were located by Heffernan, Charles W. Choral Music: Tech-
searching the following reference materials: nique and Artistry. Englewood Cliffs:
l. Subject Guide to Books in Print: 1991- Prentice-Hall, 1982.
1992, 5 vols. (New Providence, NJ: R. R. Itkin, David. "Dissolving the Myths of the
Bowker, 1991). The following headings were Show Choir." Music Educators fournal 72, no.
searched for pertinent titles: choral music; 8 (April 1986): 39-41.
choral singing; choirs (music); conducting, Johnson, Ernest 1. and Johnson, Monica Dale.
choral; music - instruction and study; and "Planning + Effort = A Year of Success." Mu-
music - manuals, textbooks. I did not ex- sic Educators journal 75, no. 6 (February
amine anthologies, collections, bibliographies, 1989): 40-43.
historical studies, dictionaries, essays about Kaplan, Abraham. Choral Conducting. New
choral music, or pronunciation guides ap- York: \Yl. W. Norton, 1985.
pearing under those headings. Lynch, Ruth Ann. "Don't Just Teach Singing,
2. ERIC, encompassing the period from 1982 Teach Music." Music Educatorsjournal 69,
through September 1992, using relevant terms no. 6 (February 1983): 42-43.
and descriptors. Neuen, Donald 1. "The Sound of A Great
3. Arneson, Arne]. The Music Educators Chorus." Music Educatorsjournal 75, no. 4
journal: Cumulative Index 1914-1987: In- (December 1988): 42-45.
cluding the Music Supervisors' Bulletin and Phillips, Kenneth. "Training the Child Voice."
the Music Supervisors journal. Stevens Point, Music Educators journal 72, no. 4 (December
\\1I: Index House, 1987. The following head-
1985): 19-22, 57-58
ings were searched: Choirs and Chorus Festi- "Point of View: Should Elementary Choruses
vals; Choirs and Choruses; Choirs and Cho- Be Select or Non-select?" Music Educators
ruses - A Cappella; Choirs and Choruses - journal 7 2, no. 3 (November 1985): 33-36,
Boys; Chorus and Choruses - Women' Cho- 45-48.
ral Directors; Choral Music; Glee Clubs: Mad- Smith, Janice P. "Selecting Music for the EI-
rigal Singers; Vocal Ensembles; Singing'; Pop ementary School Chorus." Music Educators
Music Choirs; Singing - Study and Teaching; journal 73, no. 8 (April 1987): 54-57.
Singing - Study and Teaching - Class Toms, John. "Extensity: A Tonal Concept for
Choral Conductors." Music Educators Iournal
72, no. 4 (December 1985); 16-18.
3. I found no references to gender in 16 of the
Eight articles and five books included qualifying
articles and three of the books I located:
Armstrong, Kerchal, and Donald Hustad. references, however, not every text that referred
to gender specifically discussed the missing-males
Choral Musicianship and Voice Training: An
Introduction. Carol Stream, Il.: Somerset problem. Some contained general references to
gender; some discussed other topics (e.g., the

62 The Quarterly fournal of Music Teaching and Learning

changing voice). Only two sources, Allen and tional, 1989. (Publisher did not reply.]
Mount, were free of the types of references that Montgomery, Charles. The Choral Director's
feminists find problematic, and Mount was the Handbook. Ed. Jane Montgomery. Light
only source to devote the majority of space to a Hearted Publishing, 1984. [Publisher did not
problem affecting girls: reply.l
Allen, Sue Fay. "The Potential of the Junior 4. For example, Kenneth E. Miller, Vocal Music
High Voice." Music Educators fournal 73, Education: Teaching in the Secondary School,
no. 3 (November 1986): 29-31. (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1988), 26.
Herman, Sally. "Unlocking the Potential of 5. Leslie G. Roman and Linda K. Christian-
Junior High Choirs." Music Educators journal Smith, "Introduction," in Becoming Feminine: The
75, no. 4 (December 1988): 33-36, 41. Politics of Popular Culture, ed. Leslie G. Roman
Lamb, Gordon H. Choral Techniques. 3d ed. and Linda K. Christian-Smith (London: Falmer,
Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown, 1988. 1988),4.
Lawrence, Joy E. "The Right Stuff: Success 6. Judith Butler, "Imitation and Gender Insub-
Begins With the Director." Music Educators ordination," in Inside/Out, ed. Diana Fuss (New
journal 75, no. 6 (February 1989): 36-39 York: Routledge, 1991), 28.
Mancuso, Sandra L. "Where the Boys Are: 7. Butler, 21.
Show Chorus." Music Educators fournal 70, 8. Ibid.
no. 3 (November 1983): 56-57. 9. Alison M. Jaggar, Feminist Politics and Hu-
McRae, Shirley W. Directing the Children's man Nature (Brighton: Harvester, 1983; repr.,
Choir: A Comprehensive Resource. New Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield, 1988), 127.
York: Schirmer, 1991. 10. For discussion, see, for example, Sue
Miller, Kenneth E. Vocal Music Educations: Askew and Carol Ross, Boys Don't C1y: Boys and
Teaching in the Secondary School. Sexism in Education (Milton Kynes: Open Uni-
Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1988. versity, 1988), 2; and John Fiske, Television Cul-
Mitchell, Barbara, and Cheryl M. Staats. Mak- ture(Methuen, 1987; repr., London: Routledge,
ing Children's Choirs lVork. Cincinnati: Stan- 1989), 186, 220.
dard, 1986. 11. Fiske, 200.
Mount, Timothy. "Female Tenors ... How to 12. K. Overfield, "The Packaging of Women:
Ruin An Alto." Music Educators fournal 69, Science and Our Sexuality," in On tbe Problems of
no. 4 (December 1982): 47-48. Men, ed. S. Friedman and E. Sarah (The Women's
Phillips, Kenneth H. "Choral Music Comes of Press, 1982),67-70, quoted in Askew and Ross,
Age." Music Educators journal 75, no. 4 (De- 107.
cember 1988): 22-27. 13. Andrew Ross, "fl,;fiami Vice: Selling In,"
Roe, Paul F. Choral Music Education. 2nd Communication 2, no. 3-4 (1987): 317.
ed. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1983. 14. See, for example, Overfield cited in Askew
Swanson, Fredrick. "Changing Voices: Don't and Ross, 107.
Leave Out the Boys." Music Educators jour- 15. Fiske, 220.
nal 70, no. 5 (lanuary 1984): 47-50. 16. See, for example, Richard D. Leppert, Music
Tovey, David G. "Between the Last Choral and Image: Domesticity, Ideology, and Socio-Cul-
Concert and Summer Vacation." Music Edu- tural Formation in Eighteenth-Century England,
cators fournal S'), no. 8 (April 1983): 41-42. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988),
I was unable to locate several books published 22,24, 127, 129; and Julia Eklund Koza, "Music
during this time that seemed to qualify for the and the Feminine Sphere: Images of Women as
study. When two major university libraries did Musicians in Godey's Lady's Book, 1830-1877," The
not own these books, I resorted to writing to the Music Quarterly 75, no. 2 (Summer 1991): 104-
publishers asking for review copies: 106.
Bartle, Jean A. Lifeline for Children's Choir 17. Fiske, 204.
Director'S. Oxford, 1988. (Publisher did not 18. Overfield, quoted in Askew and Ross, 107.
reply.] 19. See, for example, Diana Fuss, "Inside/Out,"
Corbin, Lynn A. Vocal Tecbniques for Choral in Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories, ed.
Ensembles. Schirmer, 1991. (Publisher re- Diana Fuss (New York: Routledge, 1991), 2; and
plied that title has been cancelled.l Askew and Ross, x.
Garretson, Robert L. Conducting Choral J1IIu- 20. Fuss, 3.
sic. 6th ed. Prentice Hall, 1988. [The pub- 21. Ibid.
lisher waited until the seventh edition (1993) 22. Gayle Rubin, "The Traffic in Women:
came out and sent a complimentary copy. Notes on the 'Political Economy' of Sex," in To-
However, the study was completed by the ward an Anthropology of Women, ed. Rayna R.
time the text arrived, and the new edition Reiter (New York: Monthly Review, 1975), espe-
publication date disqualified the text from cially 159 and 165-166.
consideration.] 23. Jaggar, 147.
Gordon, L. Choral Directors Rehearsal and 24. Piske, 210.
Performance Guide. Prentice Hall Interna-

Volume IV; Number 4/ Volume V, Number 1 63

25. Jaggar,317. 62. Roe, 176.
26. Jaggar, 323. 63. Ibid.
27. Antonio Grarnsci, Selections from the Prison 64. Roe, 177.
Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, ed. and trans. 65. David G. Tovey, "Between the Last Choral
Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith (New Concert and Summer Vacation," Music Educators
York: International, 1971), 12. journal 69, no. 8 (April 1983): 42.
28. jaggar, 15l. 66. Miller, 88.
29. jaggar, 333. 67. Ibid.
30. For simplicity, I will usually use the term 68. Roe, 176.
"teacher," even though teacher/director may be a 69. Barbara Mitchell, and Cheryl M. Staats,
more accurate term because some of the texts Making Children's Choirs Work, (Cincinnati: Stan-
were expressly designed for directors in educa- dard, 1986), 4l.
tional settings. 70. Roe, 183.
31. See, for example, Miller, 28; and Paul F. 71. Miller, 29.
Roe, Choral Music Education, 2nd ed. 72. Roe, 176.
(Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1983), 176, 177. 73. Mancuso, 56.
32. Kenneth H. Ph.illips, "Choral Music Comes 74. Swanson, 50.
of Age," Music Educators journal 75, no. 4 (De- 75. Miller, 28-29.
cember 1988): 24. 76. Miller, 28.
33. Perry A Castelli, "Attitudes of Vocal Music 77. Mancuso, 57.
Educators and Public Secondary School Students 78. Swanson, 47, 48.
on Selected Factors Which Influence Decline in 79. Castelli, quoted in Phillips, 25.
Male Enrollment Occurring Between Elementary 80. Miller, 76.
and Secondary Public School Vocal Music Pro- 81. Roe, 183.
grams" (Ph. D. diss. University of Maryland, Col- 82. Castelli, quoted in Phillips, 25.
lege Park, 1986), cited in Phillips, 25. 83. Phillips, 25.
34. Phillips, 25 84. Swanson, 47.
35 Roe, 176-177. 85. Ibid.
36. Miller, 28. 86. ]. Terry Gates, "A Historical Comparison of
37. Roe, 176. Public Singing by American Men and Women,"
38. Ibid. journal of Research in Music Education 37, no. 1
39. Sandra L. Mancuso, "Where the Boys Are: (Spring 1989): 37-38 cites statistics gathered from
Show Chorus," Music Educators journal 70, no. 3 the National Association of Secondary School Prin-
( ovember 1983): 56. cipals, 17JeMood of American Youth (Washington,
40. Fiske, 188. D.C.: National Association of Secondary School
41. Phillips, 25. Principals, 1984), 17.
42. Roe, 177. 87. Askew and Ross, 23.
43 Miller, 88-89. 88. Fiske, 213.
44. Roe, 177. 89. Craig Owens, "Outlaws: Gay Men in Femi-
45. Swanson, 50. nism," in Men in Feminism, ed. Alice Jardine and
46. Miller, 83. Paul Smith (New York and London: Methuen,
47. Miller, 86. 1987), 220, 219 cited in Carole-Anne Tyler, "Boys
48. Roe, 179. Will Be Girls: The Politics of Gay Drag," in In-
49. Roe, 180. Side/Out, ed. Diana Fuss (New York: Routledge,
50. Sue Fay Allen, "The Potential of the Junior 1991), 37
High Voice," Music Educators journal 73, no. 3 90. Askew and Ross, 32.
(November 1986): 29. 91. Askew and Ross, 37.
5l. Roe, 177. 92. Fuss, 20.
52. Allen, 29-30 93. Swanson, 47.
53. Miller, 26. 94. NASSP, cited in Gates, 37-38.
54. Roe,l77. 95. See, for example, How Schools Sbortcbange
55 Roe, 180. Girls: A Study of Major Findings on Girls and
56. Miller, 87, 84-85. Education, (Washington, D.C.: American Associa-
57 Miller, 105. tion of University Women, 1992).
58. Miller, 84. 96. Fuss,5.
59. Frederick Swanson, "Changing Voices: 97. To compare, see Julia Eklund Koza, "The
Don't Leave Out the Boys," Music Educators four- 'Missing Males' and Other Gender-Related Issues
nal 70, no. 5 (January 1984): 47. in Music Education: A Critical Analysis of Evi-
60. Joy E. Lawrence, "The Right Stuff: Success dence from the Music Supervisors 'journal, 1914-
Begins With the Director," Music Educators four- 1924," journal of Research in Music Education, 41,
nal 75, no. 6 (February 1989): 37. no. 3 (Fall, 1993): 212-232 ~
6l. Roe, 180.

64 The Quarterly Journal of Music Teaching and Learning