Survival of musical activities. When do young people stop making music?

Ruth, Nicolas and Müllensiefen, Daniel. 2021. Survival of musical activities. When do young people stop making music? PLoS ONE, 16(11), e0259105. ISSN 1932-6203 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Although making music is a popular leisure activity for children and adolescents, few stay musically engaged. Previous research has focused on finding reasons for quitting musical activities, pedagogical strategies to keep students engaged with music, and motivational factors of musical training. Nonetheless, we know very little about how the proportion of musically active children changes with age and what traits influence the survival of musical engagement. This study used longitudinal data from secondary school students in the UK and Germany aged between 10 and 17 years. A survival analysis was applied to investigate the trajectories of musical activities across this age span. Other factors like type of learned instrument, gender, personality and intelligence were taken into account for further analyses using generalized linear models. Results indicate that about 50% of all students drop out of music lessons and other musical activities by the time they turn 17 years old, with most students quitting between the ages of 15 and 17. Musical home environment is an important factor that is associated with lower drop out rates while conscientiousness and theory of musicality showed smaller significant associations.

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Funding: This research has been supported by the Humboldt’s foundation’s Feodor-Lynen postdoctoral fellowship for Nicolas Ruth and the Anneliese-Maier research prize awarded to Daniel Müllensiefen by the Humboldt foundation.

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12 October 2021Accepted
24 November 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

26 Nov 2021 15:45

Last Modified:

26 Nov 2021 15:45

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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