Excellence in Performing Arts Research


This qualitative case study seeks to determine how gender has influenced the careers and experiences of three female high school band directors. The participants were at varying stages in their career: one early career, one mid-career, and one retired. Triangulation was obtained by collecting data from a questionnaire, personal interviews, and a focus group discussion. The questionnaire was used to obtain background information about the experiences of the participants. Information obtained in the questionnaire informed the design of the interview questions to probe participants to further discuss their experiences. Finally, the participants joined a focus group discussion and shared their experiences and views of being a female in a male dominated profession. Transcriptions of the questionnaire, interview, and focus group discussion were used to code data, and develop themes. Identified themes are presented as they pertain to the individual experiences of the participants and to compare their experiences. Findings of the study revealed the participants experienced negative personal and professional issues that stem from being a female high school band director. The participants felt they needed to work harder to prove themselves in a male dominated profession. They also noted confidence and toughness were personal qualities that enabled them to be successful and remain in the profession. It was determined that the masculine history, struggle to balance work and family, working harder to succeed, and respect, may be factors that influence females in instrumental music education.