Music is a global common denominator. Taste in music is often a primary social motivator, connecting new friends over a shared experience. Whether you just enjoy to listen or to actually play it, alone or with others, most people can agree that it plays a role in their lives. For those lucky enough to have been given an instrument as a child, it became a means for expression. It formed brain cells, built co-ordination and allowed you to speak in a new way with others who shared the language. For myself, I can remember music class as the day of the week that I would look forward to most. Starting with percussive blocks and shakers in primary school and graduating to a rockin’ trombone in secondary school, it was the conviction of my teachers that fostered my understanding of music as more than just an activity. It is something to do with your life and it is entirely enriching. It goes without saying that here I sit today because of music’s role in my life.
Studies have time and time again proven that if you learn to play an instrument as a child you are more likely to go further in your life. According to a new Leger Marketing survey, seven out of 10 Canadians who learned a musical instrument as a child said it has had a positive effect on their lives and half agreed that learning an instrument helped them do better in school. Interestingly, 66% of Canadians say learning an instrument is as important as learning a second language.
The looming election encourages Canadians to look at educational programming and funding that is important to us. Cuts to arts and music funding in schools has long been a contentious issue and new data shows that music is more than just an after school activity to keep kids busy.
If you are a parent and would like to ensure that your children enjoy the benefits of education in music and the arts it is important that you make your voice heard… which is to say, you’ve gotta sing it out!
Additional Fast Facts
Across the country
- Sixty-six percent of Canadians surveyed learned to play an instrument as a child.
- Residents of Quebec (73%) and Alberta (71%) were the most likely to indicate that they learned to play an instrument.
- Albertans are more likely than most to state that learning an instrument is as important as learning a second language (80%)
- Interestingly, the flute was immensely popular in Quebec, where 45% say that they learned to play this instrument as a child.
Music talent – it’s personal
- Top three instruments Canadians learned as children? Piano (31%), Flute (18%), Guitar (15%)
- Parents and teachers were the most common motivators for children learning to play an instrument but some said celebrities were their inspiration [Men (9%) vs. Women 4%)]
- One third of Canadians said playing music was one of their favourite hobbies.
- One in six respondents still play their instrument at least once a week.
- Most Canadians admire accomplished musicians, and one third would give up their current jobs for a music career.