Time pressures and low confidence prevent young people from joining music groups, finds new study

Research published today by Making Music sheds new light on the obstacles amateur music groups face when attracting younger members.

In a survey of 816 young people aged 15 to 35, 88% said that they didn’t feel they could commit taking part in a music group due to lack of time. Meanwhile almost half of young musicians surveyed cited lack of confidence as a key contributor to their decision not to play or sing with other local musicians.

Making Music is one of the partners in the BBC’s Get Playing campaign encouraging everyone to experience the joy of playing music.

The research contradicts the commonly held assumption that young people are turned off by certain kinds of music or indeed by the age of other musicians. Only 8% of young people said that the age of others in the group would be an off-putting factor and 5% weren’t in a group because they didn’t like the music of the groups near them.

This new research was funded by a legacy donation to Making Music, with the aim of uncovering the barriers that are stopping young people from joining amateur music groups. It comes in response to a 2014 survey by Music for All which found that there are 13.6 million people in the UK who could be described as a lapsed player, of which almost 70% stopped by the time they were 16 years old.

Music groups affiliated to Making Music tend to consist mainly of over 35s – the average group has 77% of its members in the over 35 age category.

The findings set a challenge for amateur music groups around how to be more accessible to millennials with busy lifestyles – as opposed to changing their repertoire. In response to the results, Making Music will be working with music groups to provide resources and advice to address these barriers over the next two years.

Xenia Davis, Youth Engagement Manager, said: “music plays such a key role in both improving health and wellbeing and bringing communities together. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to find ways to involve and engage young people in making music.”

This research comes at a time of renewed interest in amateur music making with the BBC’s Get Playing campaign which runs all summer and encourages any amateur musician - from lapsed players and enthusiastic beginners to Grade 8 superstars - to join an online ‘virtual orchestra’ and be part of the Last Night of the Proms celebrations on Saturday 10 September.

Full details and easy instructions on how to join the BBC’s online virtual orchestra visit the Get Playing website

Making Music’s Youth Engagement survey can be read in full at www.makingmusic.org.uk/youth


For more information contact George Acock, Publications and PR Manager at george@makingmusic.org.uk / 020 7939 6041

Making Music, 8 Holyrood Street, London SE1 2EL

020 7939 6041 / www.makingmusic.org.uk

Making Music, The National Federation of Music Societies
A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales no. 308632
Registered Charity in England and Wales no. 249219 and in Scotland no. SC038849

Notes to editors:

About Making Music

Since 1935, Making Music has been the membership organisation for amateur music in the UK, bringing together musicians and music groups of all genres and abilities.

We support, connect and champion everyone who makes, performs and presents music on a voluntary basis. The services we provide allow our members – ranging from symphony orchestras to samba bands – to cross the boring things off their ‘to-do’ lists and get on with making music.

As the voice of voluntary music among policy makers and stakeholders at a national and regional level, we aim to transform lives and enrich communities across the UK through music making. www.makingmusic.org.uk



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