Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
4172.0 - Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/10/2010   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

FEATURE ARTICLE: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT


ON THIS PAGE

Introduction

Participation by Sex and Age

Participation by Area of Usual Residence

Participation by Family Characteristics

Participation by Country of Birth

References


INTRODUCTION

Around 2,400 years ago, Plato is quoted as saying "I would teach children music, physics and philosophy; but more importantly music; for in the patterns of music and all the arts, are the keys to learning".

Several recent studies have supported the premise that participation in music is an important part of the learning process (Chandrasekaran and Kraus 2009, Hunter 2005, Pascoe, Leong, MacCallum, Mackinlay, Marsh, Smith, Church and Winterton 2005). More specifically, playing an instrument may help children improve language-related skills as well as their emotional and cognitive processing (Chandrasekaran and Kraus 2009).

According to the Australia Council for the Arts, arts participation (children making and learning about the arts) improves numeracy and enhances literacy. In particular, arts participation improves competencies in writing, problem-solving, planning and organising, and develops communication skills (Hunter 2005). Research published by the Music Council of Australia also shows that participation in active music making contributes to the emotional, physical, social and cognitive growth of students (Pascoe et al., 2005).

This article investigates whether children's participation in playing a musical instrument is affected by a range of demographic variables including sex, age, country of birth and family characteristics.

In April 2009, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) conducted the fourth survey of Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities (CPCLA). The previous surveys were conducted in April of 2000, 2003 and 2006. The survey collected information on participation in selected organised cultural and leisure activities and attendance at selected cultural venues and events in the 12 month period prior to the survey date, outside of school hours by children aged 5 to 14 years.

For the purposes of the CPCLA the ABS considers playing a musical instrument to include lessons (to learn chords without actually being able to play a set piece of music), practising and giving performances.

Back to top.


PARTICIPATION BY SEX AND AGE

The overall participation rate for children in Australia who played a musical instrument increased from 18% in 2000 to 20% in 2009. In the 12 months to April 2009 there were approximately 274,700 girls and 260,700 boys (aged 5 to 14 years) in Australia who played a musical instrument. The participation rate for boys was 19% in 2009 which was significantly higher than in 2000 (16%). The participation rate for girls remained relatively static at just over 20% for all periods.

Girls recorded significantly higher participation rates for playing a musical instrument for all survey years, except 2009.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By sex - 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By sex — 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009


There were approximately 535,400 children (aged 5 to 14 years) in Australia who played a musical instrument in the 12 months to April 2009. Of these, approximately 132,700 were aged between 5 and 8 years, almost 211,100 were aged 9 to 11 years and close to 191,700 were aged between 12 and 14 years. The participation rates for these groups in 2009, were 12%, 26% and 23% respectively.

The participation rate for children aged between 5 and 8 years was significantly lower for all reference periods. The children aged between 9 and 11 years recorded the highest participation rate in 2003 with 23% however there was no significant difference between the 9 to 11 age group and the 12 to 14 age group for the other periods. The 12 to 14 age group recorded the only significant increase over the four reference periods which occurred between 2003 (19%) and 2006 (24%). The 5 to 8 age group and 9 to 11 age group's participation was fairly constant over the four survey periods.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By age group - 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By age group — 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009


Back to top.


PARTICIPATION BY AREA OF USUAL RESIDENCE

The participation rate for all children in Australia who played a musical instrument in the 12 months to April 2009 was almost 20%. The participation rate ranged from 24% in the Northern Territory to 17% in Victoria. There was no significant change between 2006 and 2009 for any state or territory. The Northern Territory was the only region to record a significant change (an increase) between 2000 and 2009.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By state - 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By state — 2009


Comparisons for metropolitan and ex-metropolitan areas are only available for 2006 and 2009. In 2009, there were 358,400 (21%) children in metropolitan areas and 177,000 (17%) in ex-metropolitan areas who played a musical instrument. Children who reside in metropolitan areas recorded a significantly higher participation rate than those who resided in ex-metropolitan areas in 2006 and 2009. Access to tuition for children in ex-metropolitan areas may be a factor in the lower participation rate. There was no significant change in the participation rates for either area or between the areas for these two periods.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By metropolitan and ex-metropolitan areas - 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By metropolitan and ex-metropolitan areas — 2006 and 2009


Back to top.


PARTICIPATION BY FAMILY CHARACTERISTICS

Children who are a part of couple families recorded a higher participation rate for playing a musical instrument than children from one-parent families for all reference periods, with the gap between the two family types remaining relatively consistent over the four survey periods. Children in couple families recorded a significant increase (19% to 21%) in the participation rate when comparing 2000 and 2009 data whereas single parent families did not.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By family type - 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By family type — 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009


The opportunity to play a musical instrument may be influenced by other factors such as income. In this article, the employment status of parents has been used in lieu of income, as income was not asked as a survey question.

The participation rate for children in families with two parents employed was significantly higher for all periods when compared with families consisting of an unemployed parent(s) or one parent employed. Children in families with unemployed parent(s) recorded the lowest participation rates in each survey period. This suggests that employment status (by extension, income) maybe a significant contributor in whether a child participates in playing a musical instrument.

It was investigated whether children from couple families with one parent employed would have higher participation rates than children from one parent families, with the parent employed, due to the idea that the couple family may have more flexibility in their day, to take children to lessons. The results showed that there was no real difference between couple families, with one parent employed and single parent families, with the parent employed. Similar outcomes were observed in families with unemployed single and couple parents. As a result, these groups were combined in the graph below (1 parent employed and Parent(s) unemployed).

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By employment status of parents(b) - 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By employment status of parents(b) — 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009


Back to top.


PARTICIPATION BY COUNTRY OF BIRTH

In 2009, there was no significant difference in participation rates based on birthplace. This was consistent with 2000 and 2006. The participation rate for children born in Australia increased significantly from 18% in 2000 to almost 20% in 2009. In contrast, the participation rates have been fairly steady (at or about 20%) for children born overseas.

CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By country of birth - 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Graph: CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT(a), By country of birth — 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009


Back to top.


REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2009, Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2009, cat. no. 4901.0, ABS, Canberra.

Hunter, M 2005, Education and the Arts: Research Overview, Australia Council for the Arts Sydney, Accessed April 2010, http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/research/education_and_the_arts/
reports_and_publications/education_and_the_arts_research_overview


Chandrasekaran, B and Kraus, N 2009, Music, Noise-exclusion and Learning, The Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, School of Communication, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA. Accessed April 2010, http://www.soc.northwestern.edu/brainvolts/documents/Music2704_07.pdf

Pascoe, R, Leong, S, MacCallum, J, Mackinlay, E, Marsh, K, Smith, B, Church, T and Winterton, A 2005, National Review of School Music Education: Augmenting the diminished, Australia, The Centre for Learning, Change and Development, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia. Accessed April 2010, http://www.dest.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/C9AFAE54-6D72-44CC-A346-3CAF235CB268/8944/music_review_reportFINAL.pdf

Back to top.


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.