I’m going to talk soon about how your child may have ended up on a certain instrument, and discuss the probable process that got them there. But first I’d like to dispel a common misconception people have regarding instruments. Namely, that instruments somehow have a certain gender based on who plays them.
Aren’t flute players supposed to be girls! That dainty little instrument is easy for them to carry and it sounds so pretty. Sorry. Some of the best known flautists in the world have been men.
Jean Pierre-Rampal and Sir James Galway are two of the most famous flautists of their time. The solo performance trail that they blazed continues today with players like Nathan ‘Flutebox’ Lee and Marco Granados. From my own experience, one of my former students who enjoyed playing flute more than almost anyone I have ever known was a starting offensive lineman on our high school football team. No one really ever made fun of him for playing flute. Or they didn’t for long.
Here’s a short video of some of Nathan Lee’s work.
Not bad for a boy! But, oh my!! How is my sweet young daughter ever going to be able to handle a trombone, or baritone, or tuba? Again, some of my best low brass players over the years have been girls. (Erica, Lisa, Liz, Jackie, Amy… you know who you are.) Check out these fine musicians…
Most directors find that student interest in an instrument will carry them a long way into their musical careers. The more excited and at home they feel on an instrument, the more enjoyment they will get out of their playing and the longer they tend to continue in school music. So open your mind. Realize there are no boy instruments or girl instruments. Be supportive of the decision your child has reached with the guidance of your school’s music staff.
And who knows? Your young flute player may grow up to be in the Super Bowl. Or your sousaphone player might one day be President of the United States.