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Gender issues have always been raised by people who want to know whether males and females are on par or if one sex performs better than the other in many life endeavours. This research work aimed at finding out whether gender influences performance in music. The scope of this work is Departments of Music in some selected universities in South-South geo-political zone in Nigeria. Two research methods were adopted in this work. They are the quantitative and qualitative research methods. Under the quantitative research, descriptive design was adopted. Inventory schedule technique was used in collecting data from Departments of Music in three universities: Delta State University, Abraka, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt and University of Uyo, Uyo. Frequency count and percentage were used in finding out the population of male and female students and the total population of students in the departments while mean and standard deviation with Statistical Product and Service Solution (SPSS) version 23 were used in analyzing the data gathered on students’ scores. The result of the study done on students’ enrolment showed that males had a higher population. The analysis done with students’ scores revealed that males outperformed the females with males having a mean performance of fifty-nine point five (59.5) and females fifty-seven (57) in theoretical courses. In the practical courses, males had a mean performance of sixty- three point nine (63.9) and females, fifty-eight point six (58.6) in the final analysis. Based on the result of the analysis of the quantitative research, a qualitative study was carried out to find out possible reasons why the males had a higher population and performed better than the females in theoretical and practical courses in music. In the qualitative research, interview method was used in gathering data from three lecturers in each of the three Universities used for the study. The data gathered from the respondents revealed that males are more interested in choosing music as a course of study than females. They are more focused, serious and have the stamina to go through stress more than females. The study concluded that there is gender imbalance in the performance of male and female students in Departments of Music used for this study. It therefore recommended among others that group work in music courses should have both male and female students in all the groups to make them know that no aspect of music is reserved for any particular sex. This investigation should be carried out in other geo-political zones of the country in other to compare the findings of both researches.



INTRODUCTION    Background to the Study


According to Ofosu, Ehiwario and Ofosu (2005), music is one of the oldest of

the arts and can be said to be as old as man. They traced their evidence of this to records of music during antiquity, archaeological surveys which revealed that musical instruments were used more than twenty-five thousand years ago by the people that lived during the Stone Age; Iconography of music with evidence in pictures of musical instruments and music manuscripts found in tombs. They also opined that the beginning of music could be traced to the primitive man trying to imitate the noise from birds, waterfalls, lightning/ thunder and other sources.

The development of music went through different stages to a level where it could be written down on manuscript (Notation). It went through different periods with the events of these different periods i.e social, economic political, cultural and philosophical development of these periods influencing music. From antiquity to the middle ages, to renaissance period – baroque period to classical era, romantic era to twentieth century music till date.

Formal education began in Nigeria through the activities of European missionaries around 1842. The first formal educational institution was founded in 1843 by Methodist missionaries in Badagry, Lagos. Right from the beginning, music was part of the syllabus of the Nigerian educational system. It gradually developed from one stage to another, until it reached a level where it is now recognized as a course of study in schools at every stage in the Nigerian educational system. Music is in the programme of study of schools at the basic educational level, secondary school level and many tertiary institutions in Nigeria have music in their programmes. There are male and female students in these departments offering all the courses which cover different branches (Theory and Practical) of music at the undergraduate level. Majority of these students go further to do post graduate programmes in their areas of interest. In Departments of Music in Nigerian universities, there are different areas of specialization in music.

Education has been found to be a very strong tool in the advancement of nations. Different countries have adopted different strategies to make sure that members of their societies are educated irrespective of sex because they know that the more the number of educated individuals they have in their countries, the more development they will experience. The Nigerian government is not left out in this move to improve the standard of education and wipe out illiteracy. They have come up with one educational policy and the other from time to time to get every child of school age and even adults accessible to education. The most recent one in Delta during governor Uduaghan’s tenure went about during school hours to get children of school age who were found hawking on the highways to school and getting their parents/guardians arrested.

The Universal Basic Education in Nigeria currently offers free education to all (both males and females). Through this system of education, opportunity is given to every Nigerian citizen to be educated. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) (2005:5) states that “the Universal Basic Education act is government strategy to fight illiteracy”. One expects that with this government policy, illiteracy would have been drastically reduced or almost completely eradicated for every member to contribute meaningfully to the growth of the society.

Despite the available opportunity for everyone in the Nigerian society to be educated, records show that some Nigerians especially females are yet to key into it, while some have very little education. Ugwuoke (2016:10) states that “forty percent (40%) of children aged 6-11 years in Nigeria, are not in any education programme. The

Northern part of the country has the lowest percentage of children’s education, especially for females. He states further that a wide gap exists between the population of boys and girls in schools, with boys having a higher population rate.

Irrespective of government policy and available opportunities in the country, the individuals’ understanding about education which can be influenced by environmental factors will always have a great role to play in the choices they make. Those that will utilize the opportunities provided by the government are the ones that attach importance to education. Student population at such times will depend on the number that attach value to their children/wards’ education, especially females. The environmental factors mentioned above include the people’s exposure and their cultural belief. Africans have norms and values in their various communities. These norms extend to roles played by men and women in the community (gender roles).

Before education came to Africa, Africans including Nigerians had skills they learnt either through their parents or specialists. These skills include: pottery, farming, trading, animal husbandry, blacksmithing, tailoring, shoe making, music making and other occupations. When formal education was introduced to them, not everybody embraced it. Some saw education as waste of time. When education started in Nigeria, some families did not send all their children to school. They left some of the males to help them with farm work, the females to help their mothers with house chores.

The effort of the educated ones and government has helped to inform the Nigerian populace to get to this level where many families now place value to the education of their children, not considering the sex. Even at this level of civilization in Nigeria, some parents are still not well informed. They do not know the worth of education. Some individuals in this category of illiterate and half-educated ones still hold to the old cultural practice of not believing so much in education, especially females’ education. Majority of school age children not in any education programme come from this category of individuals in the society, while others come from poor family backgrounds with nobody to cater for their fees.

For some decades now, issues have been raised concerning gender and its

effects on the lives of individuals. This is the effect of civilization, that makes provision for census to be taken from time-to-time on the development made in every endeavour of life and how each sex progresses. Different countries have records of advancements made in every area including education. In Nigeria for instance, there have been census on the total population in the country, population of men, women and children.


The population of people in the different careers, number of males and females in these careers, the population of children including that of number of boys and girls in schools at different levels from kindergarten to university level are known. From these records, countries know the progress being made. The country’s population is also known. If the records show that the nation is not making the desired progress, those in authority finds out where the problem lies and how to solve it and forge ahead. Sometimes, the information above are got through research studies. Research studies do not only reveal such information but also proffer solution to the problems.

Through the avenues discussed above, countries and different bodies have come to know the population of males and females, the number of each sex that are educated and the number not educated, the number of each sex in the work force and the number that are unemployed, the kind of jobs they do and even the amount they earn. From such records, the imbalances in any area of living amongst the people is revealed. Different countries are able to discuss issues affecting them with the availability of these records. For instance, Nannen (2017:1) observed that men dominated public singing activities in America with little or no participation by the female folk. He also observed that after a while, the scenario changed and females came on board. With records, Nannen was able to know the imbalance in public music activities.


Layade (2018:302), affirms that “modern civilisation is gradually influencing Africans to be gender conscious, hence sexual description is becoming a decisive and perceptive concern in the expression of historical data”. The issue of gender often times has to do with the views the society holds about each sex, the roles each sex plays and the opportunities available to each sex. Both genders grew up in their various societies and communities to understand their roles and fit into them. This restrict each sex to some sets of roles. Have these assigned roles helped individuals, society and humanity? Has it helped to develop the females and the males? And how far has it affected people positively and negatively in other areas of life’s endeavours? The consciousness to have data on every issue has been awakened in individuals and nations. Data on every sphere of life are now taken and kept for different purposes including academic discourses.


In this study, the researcher found out the students’ enrolment in the

Departments of Music in universities in the areas covered, the performances of both

genders in theoretical and practical courses and from the data gathered, find out whether gender affects the study of music.

                                          Problem of the Study


Music has been one of the subjects taught in schools since the inception of formal education in Nigeria in the early 19th century. Music has been a course of study in tertiary institutions since the 1960s with Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education. In every course of study and profession, it is essential to use the available records to generalize whether there are more males or females in the course of study, the population of both sexes in the departments where it is studied, which sex performs better in the course or profession and so on. On the average, male musicians tend to tilt towards instruments in the brass family while females are more in the wind family.

The research finds out whether gender affects choice of musical instruments. At the moment, there is no sure means of making such general statements about music as a course in South-South geo-political zone of Nigeria. It is on this premise that this topic was chosen in furtherance of global interest in gender studies.

            Objective of the Study


The objective of the study is to find out if gender influences the study of music.


                                          Specific Objectives of the Study


The specific objectives of this study are to find out the influence of gender on:


  1. the choice of music as a course;


  1. students’ performance in theoretical music courses offered in South-South

Universities in Nigeria;

  • students’ performance in practical courses;


  1. students’ choice of musical instruments;
  2. why gender influences the choice of music as a course; and students’ performance in music courses.

                                           Research Questions


  1. To what extent does gender influence the choice of music as a course?


  1. To what degree is gender balance/imbalance in students’ performance in theoretical courses in music?
  • To what degree is gender balance/imbalance in practical courses in music?
  1. To what extent does gender influence the choice of musical instruments?


                                          Significance of the Study


This study would help to expose the general population of students in Departments of Music, the population of males, females and their performances generally in practical and theoretical courses.

The study would serve as a reservoir and a means of getting information on whether gender affects the choice of music as a course, students’ performance in both practical/and theoretical courses in music and students’ choice of musical instruments. It would also aid scholars while discussing or writing on gender issues.

                                          Scope of the Study


The researcher used three (3) departments of music from universities in

South-South Nigeria. These are Delta State University, Abraka; University of Port-Harcourt, Port Harcourt; and University of Uyo, Uyo, to ascertain the population of male, female and total population of students in the three Departments of Music. The study also found out whether gender influences students’ performance in theoretical practical courses in music and their choice of musical instruments.


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