I'm at the Music Teachers Association of California annual conference. I know that it's hard to make a great conference happen. It's hard to make even a decent conference happen.
Tomorrow afternoon a man will present this session:
Fast and Furious — Technique and Repertoire for Boys
When you consider all the sports, activities and technology that fill the lives of boys these days, keeping them inspired and motivated at the piano can be a challenge. This session will consider three key factors for motivating males: cool repertoire, relational teaching and appealing technology.
When my friend first told me about this, we joked about proposing a session for next year about how hard it is to keep girls motivated since they're so busy with all that makeup and girl stuff. Like baking and sewing. Maybe we could call it Slow and Sullen.
Then I realized that this session was going to happen. An actual man was going to get up and talk about boys as if their musical needs and preferences were:
a. different than those of girls
b. deserving of special attention
c. going to be addressed, though those of girls were being ignored
Several years ago I wrote a lengthy post called Music Has no Gender. The only people who sent me angry messages were those with a horse in the race. People with collections like Especially for Boys and Especially for Girls.
I'm disheartend that a blatantly gender-stereotyped session didn't bring up red flags for the planning committee. How can anyone think it's acceptable to perpetuate these screaming gender stereotypes?
Is there any teacher who doesn't currently have girls who are busy with sports and activities? Girls who are engaged with and by technology? Girls who want to play cool repertoire?
It's a intolerable step backward.
Just in case it needs clarifying, women can be furious.
Like me, tonight.