Why Don't Girls Play Guitar?

A new report says school kids are influenced by gender when they pick a musical instrument to learn - which is apparently why girls don't play the guitar and boys don't play the flute.

The most popular instrument for girls to learn is the harp or flute, while boys go for the electric guitar and drums, says the Institute of Education.


electric guitar 81%

bass guitar 81%

tuba 77%

kit drums 75%

trombone 71%

Many instruments learnt in schools are dominated by one sex or the other, says the study. Only one in 10 harpists and flautists are male, while the electric and bass guitars are enjoyed overwhelmingly by boys.


harp 90%

flute 89%

voice 80%

fife/piccolo 79%

oboe 78%

The size of the instrument (bigger, male), its pitch (higher, female) and the physical characteristics needed to play it could be partly responsible. Another factor may be that brass instruments and drums have long been used militarily and therefore are associated with war.

The study blames it on peer pressure - it's cooler for boys to play guitar and leave the classical stuff to the ladies.


violin 19%

guitar (acoustic, electric or bass) 16.3%

flute 10%

clarinet 9%

keyboards 7%

trumpet 4.6%

piano 4.5%

drums 4.3%