Lockdown learners: The kids picking up music in lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the UK’s schoolchildren have faced a lot of upheaval for over the last 18 months. As parents became home teachers and homes becoming makeshift classrooms for chunks of the school year, things have been very different for many children. A recent study though, has found that more time at home has led to more children picking up a musical instrument. Ahead of International Youth Day, we look at the generation of lockdown learners who are honing their skills at home.

How many children have picked up an instrument during lockdown?

A report from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra found that almost 40% of children have been learning an instrument at home over the past year. The same report found that children from London and the North East have been the most enthusiastic about their weekly practice while they’ve been stuck at home.

What are the benefits of learning an instrument?

Learning an instrument has a number of benefits, particularly for young children. A study from the University of Vermont found that playing an instrument from a young age can improve a child’s memory, organisational skills and attention span. Another US study has also suggested that learning how to play music can also improve academic performance.

Of course, you can’t just pick up any instrument and learn it overnight. It takes time to learn how to play the guitar or to tinkle away at the piano. This perseverance and dedication to plugging away at a new skill is a great life lesson for young children. That’s without mentioning the improvements in co-ordination and comprehension involved in reading sheet music – playing an instrument comes with so many great benefits!

The report from the RPO, found that girls were more likely to want to play the flute, recorder, or violin, whereas guitars and drums were the most popular choices for boys.

Young boy learning to play guitar

Guitars and bass guitars proved to be the most sought-after instruments for boys.

So, why are music lessons being put on the B-side?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a crisis in the curriculum. Music education has been erased from many schools over the last 18 months, with almost one in ten schools not teaching music at all according to a report from the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM).

The report also found that in 2020, over a third of face-to-face music lessons were halted in primary schools and extra-curricular music lessons have been stopped in almost three-quarters of primary schools and more than half of secondary schools.

What is interesting is that among adults, sales of instruments such as guitars and pianos hit a high-note during lockdown as people looked for new ways to spend their free time. There’s a fear that the younger generation could be left in the dark when it comes to experiencing the joy of making music.


Views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the views of musicGuard.