Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Instrumental Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Shannon K. de l'Etoile

Second Committee Member

Svetoslav R. Stoyanov

Third Committee Member

Robert Carnochan

Fourth Committee Member

Thomas Sleeper

Fifth Committee Member

Chris Boardman


The purpose of this study was to explore the presence of and perceptions about professional female percussionists. The history of female participation in music in Western society reveals patterns of bias and segregation, in addition to progress made by those who fought for equality. Although a significant body of research has focused on gender instrument bias, the topic of female percussionists has been largely untended. Previous literature reveals several themes underlying this topic, including sex stereotyping of roles in music, instrument choice, childhood gender roles and their social context, role modeling in higher educational institutions, work-life balance, and reported issues in women’s employability. The research questions include: 1) How many female percussionists are currently employed by the selected notable five orchestras and five music schools in the United States? 2) How many female percussionists are currently employed by the selected notable five orchestras and five music schools in Europe? 3) What themes emerge by interviewing a panel of six experts (three female and three male) on the topic of female percussionists? The first two research questions were answered by comparing quantitative data from the selected reputable music schools and orchestras in the United States and in Europe. The author compiled data by communicating with official representatives and consulting official websites of the chosen institutions. The third question was answered by interviewing six professionals in the field of percussion on the topic. In order to gain balanced insight, the author decided to inquire opinions of three female interviewees (Dame Evelyn Glennie, Katarzyna Myćka, Maria Finkelmeier) and three male interviewees (Dr. David Collier, Dr. Scott Herring, Dr. Srđan Palačković). In addition, three of the interviewees were located in the United States (Maria Finkelmeier, Dr. David Collier, Dr. Scott Herring), while the others were located in Europe (Dame Evelyn Glennie, Katarzyna Myćka, Dr. Srđan Palačković). The interviewees were asked questions focused on themes which arose from the reviewed literature. Their opinions were compared and contrasted, leading to implications for future research, as well as ideas for developing a more effective educational practice. The qualitative research method utilized to encode the raw information was thematic analysis, a process which required development of a specific “code”. The code used for the purpose of this research was a list of themes found in interview transcripts that helped organize and interpret the information. The author was solely responsible for all stages of this study: conducting, recording, transcribing, and translating the interviews, as well as performing data analysis. The contributions of this research would be serviceable to future researchers on the topic, as well as those who aim to explore the position of females in other fields of music. Future researchers may use this study as a model for inquiring into the position of female percussionists in other locations (e.g. Asia, South America, Africa or Australia) and, subsequently, comparing the two studies. This study may be beneficial to educational institutions which aim to develop more effective recruitment and audition procedures in order to have a more gender balanced student body.


Female Percussionist; Feminism; Gender Bias; Sex Stereotyping; Percussion; Music