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