An excellent evening was had by all at the Classical Guitar Society of Victoria Ensemble Extravaganza on Thursday evening.We were treated to a plethora of performances, ranging from primary school ensembles, through to VCE students, through to top professionals in the form of MGQ. It’s really great to see the classical guitar and guitar ensembles begin supported in such a way by school programs and it’s great to see so much potential all on one stage. However, one cannot help but notice the lack of girls – c’mon chicks where are you?!
The schools represented at the Ensemble Extravaganza were in the majority boys schools, so I concede that this may have influenced a lack of gender balance. Even with the co-ed schools, though, and within my own beloved Guitar Orchestra, the gender balance is firmly weighted down on the side of the boys. Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not some bra-burning, uber-feminist type, who thinks a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. And I bloody hate quotas, and positive discrimintion. I am merely a musician and a guitarist with a concern that perhaps young girls are not being encouraged to pick up the instrument and supported to continue to play it. We have an increasing wealth of female role-models in the guitar world too with Sharon Isbin, Xuefei Yang, Ana Vidovic, Karin Schaup….. Women are equal to men in the technical and musical ability to play the instrument…..I’m not sure of the reasons why and I’m just laying out my thoughts. I’m sure the reasons are many and varied and intertwined. I am sure, though, that the guitar world, as with many other disciplines and professions, can only benefit from having a diversity of people and perspectives.