Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


Music History and Literature

Committee Chairperson

Timothy Sestrick, MA, MLS

Committee Member

Julian Onderdonk, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Hayoung Heidi Lee, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jordan Stokes, Ph.D.


Research in the West Chester University (WCU) School of Music (SOM) archive displayed a history of women’s involvement in music dating back to its opening in 1871. The archive provided the resources for an examination of the representation of female instrumentalists at WCU in a few key areas over more than a century. As trends of gender stereotyping in music shifted, their effects can be seen on women at WCU.

The research conducted in the archive provided three sets of primary documents that informed this project. Those primary documents include the Quarto-Centennial History of the West Chester State Normal School from 1896, an entire student newspaper from 1973 with two additional editorials about including female instrumentalists in the West Chester State College marching band, and two National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) reports from 1972 and 1981, as well as university music faculty profiles from 1991, 1992, 1998, and 1999.

Each of these primary documents set up a different focus on women in the music programs at WCU. These documents are used alongside supplemental works from outside the archive to provide background and insight into the gender stereotypes common within music during three distinct points in time. The central gender association issues within music that are discussed in this paper largely surround women’s supposed inferiority to men, as well as common sex-stereotyping of certain instruments.