Musical genre and gender as factors in higher education learning in music

Graham Welch, Ioulia Papageorgi, Liz Haddon, A. Creecha, Frances Morton, C. De Bézena, Celia Duffy, John Potter, Tony Whyton, Evangelos Himonides

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Educational and psychological research suggests that gender and musical genre can influence musical learning and the development of musical identities, particularly during adolescence. However, there is a relative paucity of educational studies in higher education (HE) concerning the possible impact on musical learning of gender and musical genre, either individually or collectively. As part of a two-year comparative study funded under the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)’s Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP) that is focused on musical learning in HE, we investigated the effect of musicians’ gender and chosen musical performance genre (embracing Western classical, jazz, popular, and Scottish traditional music) on undergraduate and postgraduate (career-based) learning. Data were gathered through a web-based survey of participants (n=244) drawn from four HE institutions (HEIs) in Glasgow, York, Leeds and London and the wider workplace, supplemented by semistructured case study interview data from a sub-set (n=27) of these participants. Statistical and qualitative analyses indicate that gender and genre can impact individually on some aspects of participants’ psychological and socio-psychological make-up and in their attitudes to learning. However, there was no evidence statistically or qualitatively of any major interaction between the variables of genre and gender in the data from the chosen measures. Furthermore, irrespective of musical genre, skilled musicians had many aspects in common in terms of their core musical identities and behaviours, implying that the requirements for highly skilled musical performance can transcend particular group characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-217
Number of pages15
JournalResearch Papers in Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008


  • Gender
  • Higher education
  • Learning
  • Music
  • Musical genre

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    Welch, G., Papageorgi, I., Haddon, L., Creecha, A., Morton, F., Bézena, C. D., Duffy, C., Potter, J., Whyton, T., & Himonides, E. (2008). Musical genre and gender as factors in higher education learning in music. Research Papers in Education, 23(2), 203-217.