Instrumental music is a pathway into artistic expression and awareness, and playing a musical instrument is a central arts experience for many people. Instrumental and vocal music are among the most visible forms of arts education. In 2015 we add a new series to the Local Arts Index to track adult participation in playing musical instruments.

Scarborough Research gathered data on adult engagement in music in 81 metropolitan areas that contain about 62 percent of the entire U.S. population, along with data Scarborough collects on attendance at museums and at popular music events.

This indicator estimates the percentage of adults in 2011 – those 18 and over – in its survey base who played a musical instrument in the prior 12 months. It uses data from Scarborough Research collected in 525 counties. Because Scarborough first recorded data on musical instrument participation in 2011, it is a single year estimate, unlike other indicators obtained from Scarborough that are averaged over years 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Additional Information: Average county indicator value = 12.8%. Median county indicator value = 12.3%.

 

Fast Facts from the Arts Index

Demand for arts in education by college-bound students is up!

According to data published by The College Board, the share of SAT test-takers with 4 years of arts or music classes in high school has grown over the past decade from 15% to 20%. The number of college arts degrees conferred annually have risen steadily from 75,000 to 129,000 over the past dozen years.