Honors Program

Fine and Performing Arts Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Alison Deadman

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Matthew Geiger


Women percussionists have historically been the minority in professional percussion roles. After a discussion of women’s roles as drummers in ancient history, this document reviews the role of women percussionists in the rapidly evolving field of percussion. The purpose of this study was to see if there has been an increase in female percussionists in professional positions since Meghan Aube’s 2011 study, Women in Percussion: The Emergence of Women as Professional Percussionists in the United States, 1930-Present. Because female percussionists have been subject to gender stereotyping of instruments and gender discrimination, this study also aimed to discover if any progress has been made toward the presence of women in percussion education and as performers. In order to update results from Meghan Aube’s study, the personnel lists of the top two tiers of orchestras (the top 11.28 percent of 452 orchestras according to the ranking system established by the League of American Orchestras) were surveyed to find the gender ratio of their percussion sections. Likewise, data collected from the College Music Society directory was used to determine the number of women teaching percussion at universities in the United States. In addition, percussion professors from institutions offering graduate degrees in music were surveyed and asked to provide their experiences with gender discrimination toward female percussionists. This document may serve as a resource for further studies and research on the evolving roles of female percussionists.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.