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

Consumer arts spending steady at $150 billion!

Since 2002, consumer spending on the arts has remained in the $150 billion range, though as a share of all expenditures it has slipped from 1.88% in 2002 to 1.45% in 2010. Following four years of decreases, musical instrument sales rebounded, growing from $5.9 billion in 2009 to $6.3 billion in 2010.