Is playing the violin “uncool” for boys?

In recent years, there have always been significantly more violin registrations from girls than from boys at our music school. Even in many youth orchestras, the percentage of girls playing the violins is usually higher than the percentage of boys. What might be the reason for this? Do boys find playing the violin "uncool"??

Old traditions

Until a few decades ago, you saw almost exclusively male violin soloists on the world’s great stages. Also in orchestras the violin was mostly played by men. And this is not because the women have not succeeded!

Fortunately, we have left behind this tradition of denying girls educational opportunities. Today, in our latitudes, every young person – whether a boy or a girl – can learn the profession he or she is aiming for, given the right aptitude. Thus, we now have a very high percentage of girls at high schools and universities, as well as at music training institutes.

New role models

Over time, however, not only have the traditions changed, but so have the models. Valid since the 19. While in the 19th century the famous violin virtuoso Paganini was the greatest role model for many musicians, later followed by Heifetz, Oistrakh, Menuhin and many others, nowadays it is more often highly talented, virtuosic young (and usually very good-looking) female violinists who have the music world at their feet, and who have a great role model effect on our young violinists.

In addition to classical music, there is also the crossover area, which also exerts a great fascination on many of our young instrumentalists. Here, too, there are both male and female role models who inspire our students time and again and inspire them to make music actively of their own. Especially David Garrett is the absolute hit here at the moment with the guys (but also with the gals). Also very popular – primarily among girls – is American violinist Lindsay Stirling and her music videos. With these idols – both classical and crossover – in mind, students – boys and girls alike – find playing the violin anything but "uncool"!

Sense of belonging

In addition to role models, however, something else plays a very important role in motivating boys as well as girls to play the violin: The feeling of belonging. A string instrument is a typical "community instrument. Nowadays it is possible to make music together with others from the very first violin lesson. This shared learning and music-making experience always spurs on. It connects. Valuable friendships are formed with like-minded people.

Quote from a violin student: "I think it’s totally cool when you can do something particularly well. My favorite part is the intense rehearsals before a concert. There is a strong cohesion among the musicians."

For young people, learning and playing music together is often such a profound emotional experience that it has a formative effect on their entire lives. At least none of the boys and girls in my violin class think it’s "uncool". On the contrary, the boys are also proud to be part of this music-making community! You are proud to play the violin.

How is it with the boys in your instrumental lessons? Ask them frankly whether they think playing the violin is "cool", and what role models they have in this respect! I would be very interested in the result of your survey!

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