Music Education Still Favors The Rich According To UK Study

According to a recent Guardian article, it has been reported that the percentage of children in the United Kingdom who know how to play a musical instrument has almost doubled in the last 15 years, however the gap between poorer children who lack access is still an obstacle in music education. The study was conducted by ABRSM, the exam board of the Royal Schools of Music. Here are a few findings based on they study. • The piano, recorder and classical guitar were the most commonly played instruments by children and young people. • The drum kit, electric and bass guitar have become increasingly popular. • The electric guitar has overtaken the violin in popularity. According to the study, Long-term music education is often still considered a luxury of the rich. The main obstacle lower income parents face in providing music education is the cost associated with learning to play and taking lessons. This new study compares its results with previous research conducted by ABRSM. The findings show that, overall, about 5.5 million five- to 14-year-olds (76%) claim that they know how to play an instrument, which has increased from 3.2 million (41%) in 1999. This data is quite an accomplishment for the UK. The English government has spear headed a progressive initiative that has clearly had a positive impact on music education. But the study also suggests there are noteworthy disparities between the percentage of rich and poorer youngsters who play an instrument. An estimated 90% of children from the wealthiest backgrounds will have played an instrument, based on the survey, compared with 80% of those from other social backgrounds. It was also found that children coming from richer homes are also more likely to have had music lessons according to the study. "Children from lower socioeconomic groups continue to be significantly disadvantaged compared with their peers from more affluent backgrounds," the study says. "Sustained, progressive music education tends to be the preserve of children born to wealthier parents. This report shows that adults who had private lessons as children and sat a music exam were much more likely to still play an instrument – and the higher the grade achieved, the more likely they were to continue learning. "The cost of learning to play and of taking lessons is a major barrier, and children without access to tuition are significantly less likely to carry on playing." Lincoln Abbotts, director of strategic development at ABRSM, stated: "It is hoped the report will be used to influence, change and further improve the circumstances in which children and adults engage with music. The political environment has shifted considerably in recent times with significant government investment, sector lead initiatives and increased enthusiasm among our young people for all the extraordinary joys and benefits of making music."