New Gallup Survey by NAMM Reflects Majority of Americans Agree with Many Benefits of Playing Musical Instruments

More than Nine in Ten Agree that Making Music Helps Children Make Friends, Develop Creativity, Enhance Intellectual Development, Builds Teamwork Skills

April 29, 2009

According to a new Gallup survey, interest in playing music is at an all-time-high as outlined by the 2009 Public Attitudes Towards Music study, which was conducted on behalf of NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants), the not-for-profit trade association for the international music products industry. The study indicates that more people are currently playing music and own musical instruments than have in the last decade, despite challenges to music education programs in the schools.

During these tough economic times where music education in schools is often threatened, this report confirms that it is more important than ever to ensure everyone can enjoy the proven benefits of music, especially youth.  To kick off National Wanna Play Music Week (May 4-8), NAMM has recruited hundreds of schools and organizations across the country to play music at the exact same time on “Music Monday” May 4 to recognize the importance of music education in our schools and music in our lives.

According to the survey, the majority of Americans completely or mostly agree that benefits for children and teenagers playing musical instruments include:

•    Helping a child develop creativity(97 percent total, 59 percent completely and 37 strongly agree)

•    Helping develop teamwork skills from playing in a school band (96 percent total, 51 percent completely and 45 percent strongly agree)

•    Helping a child’s overall intellectual development (94 percent total, 45 percent completely and 49 percent strongly agree)

•    Relieving stress and providing relaxation, which is needed during these troubled economic times (94 percent with half completely agreeing)

•    Helping make friends (93 percent total with 42 percent completely agreeing)

•    Helping prepare them to be creative and innovative in the workforce (91 percent total, 42 percent completely and 49 percent strongly agree)

•    Yielding better grades, teaches discipline, motivates them to stay in school (88 percent total, 36 percent completely and 52  percent strongly agree)

•    Making you smarter (83 percent total with 37 percent completely agreeing)

"Everywhere you look, you see how the pastime of playing music is continuing to gain in popularity with people of all ages, as evidenced by our recent Gallup poll," said Joe Lamond, president and CEO, NAMM. "More people are realizing the fun and many proven benefits of playing music and are taking that next step without worry that they might not be good or talented enough to enjoy playing.”

 Additional study highlights on America’s attitude towards playing music:

•    Nearly all (96 percent) of respondents in the survey believe musical skills can be learned at any age

•    Most (92 percent) completely (56 percent) or mostly (36 percent) agree that schools should offer music as part of the regular curriculum

•    Eight in ten completely (43 percent) or mostly (37 percent) that music education should be mandated by states

•    Most (87 percent) completely (47 percent) or strongly (40 percent) agree that music is a very important part of their life

•    Eighty-five percent who do not play a musical instrument say they wish they had learned to play

•    Seven in 10 (69 percent) report they would like to learn to play a musical instrument

•    The majority  (64 percent) of respondents completely (45 percent) or strongly (19 percent) agree they would be more likely to participate in music making, if scientific research found that it improved their health

•    Most (66 percent) say time (40 percent) and too many other interests/conflicts (26 percent) are the biggest barriers to playing music

•    For kids, nearly half (47 percent) say that time issues also are a major barrier with competing activities such as sports (19 percent), video games (14 percent) and extracurricular activities (14 percent)

NAMM’s ongoing nationwide Wanna Play? public awareness program is dedicated to increasing understanding of the proven benefits of playing musical instruments for people of all ages. May 4-8, NAMM will help celebrate National Wanna Play Music Week. The week kicks off with “Music Monday,” a five-year tradition of the Coalition for Music Education in Canada that encourages musicians, music organizations, school bands and music lovers everywhere to play music at the same time to demonstrate the galvanizing power of making music. Other activities that week aim to raise awareness and inspire people of all ages and talent to get involved in playing, from taking lessons to purchasing their first instrument or music software. For more information about the Wanna Play? campaign and to get involved, interested parties can visit

The findings are based on 1,000 telephone interviews conducted by Gallup with consumers, age 12 and older, residing in the continental United States. Interviewing was conducted during February and March, 2009. For results based on the sample of 1000 respondents, the error attributable to sampling and other random effects would be plus or minus three percentage points.