Girls Need to Learn Music but They Shouldn’t Make It a Career: Three Chinese-Australian Musicians’ Learning Experiences with Tiger-mums

By Annabella Fung.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 16, 2016 $US5.00

I examined three female Chinese-Australian musicians’ learning experiences influenced by Confucianism using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and report on semistructured interviews undertaken. The Confucian concepts Three Hierarchies and Five Relationships and Compulsion to Excel were explored in reference to gender discrimination and cultural prejudice. These musicians were brought up by tiger-mums with an authoritarian parenting style. They had suffered physical punishment, gender inequity, and familial pressure to study something other than music in their tertiary education. All admitted that it was their passion for music which led them to overcome their unfortunate circumstances and became music professionals. They acknowledged that their adversities and music training had shaped them from being voiceless girls to becoming independent individuals who were no longer overshadowed by others. The examination of their stories informed dialogue and research, and challenged understandings of gender inequality and imposed cultural roles on women within the Confucian Heritage Culture (CHC). This increased awareness will facilitate greater understandings among educators, health-care professionals, and social workers who interact with families from the CHC. Without recognition of the value of women and the importance of the child being an active participant in their own learning, the application of Confucian principles will continue to hobble parent-child relationships.

Keywords: Authoritarian Parenting Style, Gender Inequity, Music Learning

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 14, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 16, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 555.348KB)).

Annabella Fung

PhD Researcher, Teaching Associate, and Research Assistant, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia