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Get Playing

Whether it's singing, creating, playing an instrument, or enjoying listening to music, evidence shows that engaging with music from a young age has many benefits. Plus, it's great fun!

Where is my local music service?

There are music hubs and services all over the UK to help children and young people enjoy the amazing benefits of music and get playing. Find your nearest music hub/service below:

      Why get playing?

      Music is great fun, but did you know it can also improve brain function, support wellbeing, and broaden horizons? Find out more below.

      Smile

      Music makes you smile

      Music helps with confidence and self-esteem, and plays an important part in nurturing a positive attitude to life. Research shows that listening to music can trigger a release of dopamine to the brain – a ‘feel-good’ chemical released at moments of peak enjoyment as part of our brain’s reward system.

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      Brain

      Music is good for your brain

      Regularly singing or playing an instrument is linked with improvements in your brain, especially memory and focus. Evidence from neuroscientists in Chile suggests that learning to play a musical instrument improves brain function, in particular attention and working memory.

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      Connect

      Music helps you connect

      Participation in musical activities helps develop team and organisation skills as well as qualities such as empathy, resilience, and reliability. From fostering patience, listening skills, and group coordination, research suggests that structured musical group improvisations help children develop a sense of empathy.

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      Academic

      Music has academic benefits

      Music can help support children’s learning in other subjects. Research has shown that music can boost attainment in other academic subjects. For example, a Canadian study found that school music participation is linked to higher exam scores in English, maths, and science.

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      World

      Music opens a door to a whole world

      From gig-going to performing on tour, through music you can meet new people, travel far and wide, and broaden your horizons. As a universal language, music allows you to engage with people from all walks of life and can be a rewarding career or lifelong leisure activity. In fact, in 2019 the UK music industry employed 197,168 people – an all time high.

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      Ways

      There are lots of ways to be musical

      There are many ways to be a musician. You can sing, play an instrument, create, compose, mix, produce, write lyrics, or simply enjoy listening to music. Youth Music’s research report ‘The Sound of the Next Generation’ found that whilst 30% of young people play an instrument, 67% of young people make music, which includes singing, rapping, DJing, making music on a computer, karaoke, and writing music.

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      Spend

      You don't need to spend much to get started

      There are lots of opportunities to start learning, and many are free or subsidised. All children aged between 5 and 14 should receive a music education in school as part of the curriculum, and in many cases schools, music services, and other local organisations provide a broad range of music activities including free or subsidised access to instrumental lessons, ensembles, performance opportunities, and instrument hire.

      Visit your local music service to find out more ›

      Expert

      You don't need to be an expert to help your child learn

      Show an interest, encourage your child, and create time and space for learning.
      Dr Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason and her husband Stuart are not professional musicians themselves, but have raised seven children who are all studying and performing music to a very high level, including 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year winner, Sheku. In her keynote at the 2020 Music Mark Annual Conference, Dr Kanneh-Mason emphasised that supporting musical progression as a parent is not about being a ‘superhero’ but nurturing the potential in every child.

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      Life

      Music is for life

      A love of music lasts a lifetime. There are over 13,500 adult leisure-time music groups across the UK, enhancing wellbeing and creating a sense of community. Studies carried out with instrumental and vocal groups have repeatedly shown how music-making contributes to positive wellbeing and a sense of community in participants of all ages, as well as developing musical skills and enjoyment.

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      Rewarding

      Music is rewarding

      Improving musical skills takes time, patience, and perseverance, but the rewards are significant – the more you put in, the more you get out. South London rapper, Dave, went from performing on his own YouTube channel in 2015 to performing at the Brits in 2020. Laura Mvula, award-winning singer-songwriter, began her career studying classical piano and violin as a child, progressing from Grade 1 through to Grade 8.

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      Illustrations by Esther Shelley

      What is a music service?

      There are music services and instrumental teaching services across the UK which support the musical learning of children in a variety of ways. This includes the provision of instrumental and vocal tuition, ensembles, choirs and bands, advice and guidance for schools and professional development for teachers.

      In England, music services may be part of a Music Education Hub – groups of organisations working together to create joined-up music education provision.

      Are you a Music Hub/Service and a member of Music Mark? We have a pack of free and ready to use resources just for you, including a customisable poster and social media graphics available in both English and Welsh. Get in touch if you have not received your pack and we’d be delighted to send it to you!

      What do you love most about musical learning? Celebrate with us on Twitter and join the campaign #GetPlaying

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