Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Erin M Fahle

Second Advisor

Rene Parmar

Third Advisor

Stephen Kotok


The purpose of this study is to investigate different practices of musical instrument choice and how those relate to gender equitable outcomes of music students. Little attention has been given to a student’s preference of the timbre of the instrument that is to be learned. Rather, instrument choice has been largely determined by a teacher based on what the student reports visually and physically liking after trying multiple instruments. This study will explore whether male and female students’ instrument placement differs when using Gordon’s Instrument Timbre Preference Test (ITPT). This study will use archived data from music students in Grades 4 through 12. Students in Grades 4 and 5 used the ITPT to select an instrument. Students in Grades 6 through 12 used the traditional “petting zoo” model. However, the ITPT was administered to these students in the 2018-2019 school year. The study will first establish if there are significant differences in the timbre preferences of boys and girls in Grades 4 through 12. Then it will explore if there are significant differences in the instrument placement of boys and girls when using Gordon’s ITPT method versus the traditional instrument selection petting zoo method. Among middle and high school students who did not use the ITPT to select their instruments, it will examine if students’ instrument choices correspond to their timbre preferences as measured by ITPT and whether that differs for boys and girls and their ensemble.