Power, A. (2008). What motivates and engages boys in music education? Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, (175), 85-102.
This article, part of larger study of at-risk boys in Australian schools, provides an interesting window into schools from another part of the world. Male-only music classes from two schools (one primary, one secondary) are profiled. In both cases, these gender specific classes were found to be effective in allowing at-risk boys to engage in music activities, as well as improving their overall engagement and belonging in their school.
This finding raises interesting questions for technology-based music classes designed to reach non-traditional music students in the United States. First, is ‘the other 80%’ (students not in band, choir, or orchestra) evenly split split by gender? Even if it is evenly balanced, is it possible that high level of male enrollment in the typical music technology class could be a benefit in reaching ‘the other 80%’? I’ve always considered the gender gap in music technology as a concern, and I still do. However, it is interesting to consider the issue as a strength for technology-based music classes.