Discrimination and Isolation Experienced by Female High School Band Directors

Open Access
Sellers, Katherine Anne
Area of Honors:
Music Education
Bachelor of Music Education
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr. Linda Carol Porter Thornton, Thesis Supervisor
  • Darrin Howard Thornton, Faculty Reader
  • Dr. Linda Carol Porter Thornton, Honors Advisor
  • music
  • music education
  • band
  • band directing
  • high school
  • high school band
  • women
  • sexism
  • feminism
  • discrimination
  • female
  • female high school band directors
In teaching high school band, men outnumber women 3 to 1 (Schoelesser, 2002). The purpose of this study is to investigate the discrimination and isolation experiences of female high school band directors, with further consideration of the regions in which they have resided or taught. Associated research questions include how gender stereotypes in instrument selection may impact high school band directing careers and different motivations for becoming a high school band director. This research was gathered through a Google Forms survey distributed by email to Sigma Alpha Iota alumnae chapters and through two Facebook posts on band director pages, as well as nine phone interviews drawn from interested participants of the survey. There were 688 valid responses to the survey and 138 of those participants expressed interest in an interview. There was no noted discrepancy in discrimination and isolation experiences by region, including regions where participants attended high school and college nor regions where participants taught or are currently teaching. The interviews support the conclusion that women high school band directors’ discrimination experiences are uniform across all regions of the United States (and internationally). However, most of the discrimination comes from the band community (other professionals in area, school district, etc.), rather than from students, parents or administration.