The electric guitar is becoming an increasingly popular instrument for children to play, overtaking the violin, a new study has revealed.
Some 13 per cent of five to 17-year-olds play the electric guitar, while 12 per cent play the violin. The most popular instrument is the keyboard, played by 30 per cent of the 1,726 children surveyed by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM).
Its figures provide evidence of the soaring popularity of music among young people, the BBC reports. The number of youngsters aged between five and 14 who said they knew how to play an instrument was 76 per cent - significantly higher than the 41 per cent figure recorded in 1999.
As well as a rise in the overall number playing an instrument, the ABRSM found that children are playing a broader range of instruments and an increasing number say they are able to play two or more.
ABRSM researchers found that boys were more likely to learn pop music instruments that girls, who tend to play more classical ones such as the recorder, violin and flute.
There was also evidence that youngsters from more affluent backgrounds have better access to music education, with almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of those from wealthier families saying they had lessons, compared with 55 per cent of those from poorer groups.
In order to address the issue, the report's authors suggest providing targeted funding at disadvantaged learners and encouraging greater collaboration between the public and private sectors.
In July, the government announced it was providing extra investment in music education, with £18 million allocated to raise standards in the subject.
Part of the investment was made in music hubs, enabling them to purchase extra instruments and giving thousands more disadvantaged children access to music lessons.
Education minister Nick Gibb said: "Music hubs have made a very encouraging start - and now we want to build on that. That is why we are increasing funding by £18 million. No children should miss out on the inspiration and excitement that music can bring to their lives."
Posted by Harriet McGowan