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- New Gallup Survey Results -
- American Attitudes Towards Music
- Source: American Music Conference, AMC
Music News - May 5, 2000
- The Gallup Organization working with The International
- Music Products Association has produced survey results on
- American Attitudes Towards Music Making. This survey
- is undertaken every 3 years and the numbers this year are
- very encouraging.
- In an article that appeared in the May 4th issue of USA
- Today, it was reported that, "A growing body of research
- the educational benefits of music instruction appears to
- having an impact on public attitudes. In a new Gallup
- Survey, 81 percent of 15,000 adults say that participating
- music education corresponds with better grades and test
- scores, up from 69 percent in 1997. The survey finds that
- 50 percent of households have one person age 5 or older
- who plays a musical instrument, up from 38 percent in
- 1997. Forty percent have two or more people who play, up
- from 34 percent in 1997. Participation in private
- school instrument programs and other types of
- instrumental programs also increased."
- Here are the results of the new Gallup Poll about
attitudes toward music making and music education.
- Americans Love Making Music -
- And Value Music Education More Highly Than Ever
- Gallup Poll Shows Strong Support for Putting Music in Every
- CARLSBAD, Calif.-According to a new nationwide survey
conducted by the Gallup Organization, more than nine in ten
Americans believe music education should be a part of every
student's day. In fact, more than three-quarters of the people
questioned feel that states should mandate it.
- "American Attitudes Toward Music," conducted for NAMM -
- International Music Products Association, also found that
active music making takes place in half the homes in America.
Music participation and support for school music education are
both significantly stronger than in an identical poll conducted in
1997. Another significant finding is the sharp increase in the
number of people who believe music education helps students
succeed in other academic areas.
- "The results of this national survey leave no doubt that
Americans feel strongly about music," says NAMM President and CEO
Larry Linkin. "It's especially dramatic to see the growing clamor
for music education in our schools."
- Among more than 1,500 people surveyed, 95 percent stated that
they feel music is part of a well-rounded education (up from 90
percent in 1997), 93 percent feel schools should offer musical
instruction as part of the regular curriculum (up from 88
percent), and 78 percent (up from 70 percent) feel states should
mandate music education for all students.
- Among respondents who said they currently play a musical
instrument, 92 percent feel that music is a very important part of
their lives, 92 percent said that music brings the family together
and 92 percent said learning to play an instrument was something
they were always glad they'd learned. Even among non-players, only
31 percent said they feel they're too old to start learning.
- Recent scientific findings about the broad benefits of music
education have had an effect on people's attitudes. Eighty-one
percent of respondents said they feel participating in school
music corresponds with better grades and test scores, up sharply
from 69 percent in 1997. Seventy-five percent said they believe
learning a musical instrument helps students do better in other
subjects such as math and science, and 73 percent said they
believe teens who play an instrument are less likely to have
- The 1997 study took place just as the new wave of music
research was beginning to build. Since then, scientists in a
variety of disciplines have published findings that reinforce the
value of music education - not only for its own sake, but as a key
to intellectual development, physical wellness, and improved
academic grades across the curriculum.
- For example, researchers at Michigan State University, led
- Dr. Frederick Tims, have found that making music improves the
health of the elderly. At a Miami Veterans Administration
hospital, Tims also found that group music therapy raised the
levels of important neural hormones in Alzheimer's disease
patients. A study from the University of California at Irvine led
by Dr. Gordon Shaw found that elementary school students at the
95th Street School in Los Angeles who took piano lessons boosted
their math performance. In fact, the sameresearchers
- who conducted the 95th Street study have also found that the
neural firing patterns at the most basic level of brain activity
seem to resemble the patterns in music.
- The survey found that 50 percent of households have one person
age five or older who currently plays a musical instrument, up
from 38 percent in 1997. Forty percent of households have two or
more persons who play a musical instrument, up from 34 percent in
1997. In all, 53 percent of households own a musical instrument,
up from 43 percent.
- Participation in various musical activities is up as well from
three years ago: private lessons (from 18 to 21 percent of
households that report at least one person participating), school
instrumental programs (from 23 to 29 percent) and other types of
instrumental music programs (from 7 to 11 percent) are all more
popular than before.
- Survey methodology
- The survey consisted of 1504 telephone interviews with
participants aged 12 or older from February 5 through 28, 2000. By
gender, respondents were 57 percent female and 43 percent male; 21
percent were students; 62 percent were over age 35, with 29
percent aged 18-34 and 9 percent aged 12-17. College graduates
made up 64 percent of the people surveyed. Fifty-five percent of
respondents reported a household income of less than $45,000.
- "Across this country, families, voters and school boards are
facing tough choices," says Linkin. "For some time, researchers
have made the case that music has a place in every person's life.
Now, we know the people of America feel the same way. We'll work
hard to translate these sentiments into concrete change."
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