International Youth Day and the Lifelong Benefits of Music
This Thursday, 12th March, is the UN’s annual International Youth Day, a day when we celebrate the importance of our young people worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the UK’s schoolchildren have faced unprecedented upheaval over the last 18 months.
As parents became home teachers and homes became makeshift classrooms for chunks of the school year, things have been very different for many children. A recent study though, has found that more time at home has led to more children picking up a musical instrument.
Ahead of International Youth Day, leading musical instrument insurer musicGuard looks at the generation of lockdown learners who are honing their skills at home and the lifelong benefits of learning an instrument.
How many children have picked up an instrument during lockdown?
A report from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra found that almost 40% of children have been learning an instrument at home over the past year. The same report found that children from London and the North East have been the most enthusiastic about their weekly practice while they’ve been stuck at home.
The benefits of learning a musical instrument
A study from the University of Vermont found that playing an instrument from a young age can improve a child’s memory, organisational skills and attention span. Another US study has also suggested that learning how to play music can also improve academic performance.
The perseverance and dedication to plugging away at a new skill is an important life lesson for young children. And the improvements in co-ordination and comprehension involved in playing and reading sheet music benefit are well documented.
According to the RPO, girls are more likely to want to play the flute, recorder, or violin, whereas guitars and drums were the most popular choices for boys.
But music lessons are being put on the B-side
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a crisis in the curriculum. Music education has been erased from many schools over the last 18 months, with almost one in ten schools not teaching music at all according to a report from the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM).
The report also found that in 2020, over a third of face-to-face music lessons were halted in primary schools and extra-curricular music lessons have been stopped in almost three-quarters of primary schools and more than half of secondary schools.
Yet among adults, sales of instruments such as guitars and pianos hit a high note during lockdown as people looked for new ways to spend their free time. There’s a fear that the younger generation could be left in the dark when it comes to experiencing the joy of making music.
Head of Marketing at musicGuard, Alex Bennett said “It’s really encouraging to see that so many children are keen to spend time learning a new instrument, especially given the number of alternative options competing for their time. It feels important that this enthusiasm is nurtured and that music lessons are back in schools as soon as is safe to do so.”
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