GENUS Conference 2019
As a music student I’ve learned that there is a lot we need to change if more female instrumentals are going to apply for higher music education, but I believe the GENUS project is the first step to make that change. I believe having more female instrumentalists at higher music education will have a positive effect, contributing to a higher diversity and variety among students.
Attending Genus Conference as a music student was a great experience. My job was to take notes of the thoughts and ideas brought forward by the participants, as well as being part of the discussions. We wanted to make a “toolbox” - specific measurements to bring and inspire more girls to start playing an instrument beside vocals, and hopefully have more girls applying to higher music education. The conference addressed different aspects on the gender issue, mainly in four topics – “The big “Why”?”, “The Gate”, ”Our Studies” and “Whats’ Stopping Us”? The discussions presented different views on gender balance in higher music education, views presented and discussed by music students, professional artists and professors from Scandinavia and the UK. We shared a lot of common experiences, especially stereotype. One thing we need to redefine, is the thought of having masculine and feminine instruments. We need to change music education early on.
Artist in residence, Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen, and professor in residence, Sally-Anne Gross, shared their experiences as females in the music industry and education. Emilie Lindblom, an exchange student from Finland studying bass guitar at UiA, talked about why she started and why she continued playing the bass guitar. Their experiences raised a lot of questions on how and why men and women are being approached differently based on gender.
After two days taking notes and discussing gender unbalance in higher music education at the GENUS conference and developing a toolbox, I hope there will be changes in the coming years. Not only in our educational programs, but also in earlier musical platforms starting already at elementary school.