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New Survey Finds 27% of Young Musicians Use Tech Such as Apps and Videos to Learn to Play an Instrument

CARLSBAD, Calif., Nov. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Harris Interactive survey commissioned by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) found that technology such as YouTube videos, online lessons and music apps are inspiring more than one in four young people ages 8 to 21 (27 percent) to learn to play a musical instrument, compared to 16 percent of respondents of all ages.  Specifically, 17 percent of people 8 to 21 years old say they would never have tried to learn to play without technology.

The nationwide survey found that affordability and convenience of online educational tools is encouraging 16 percent of all Americans ages 8 and older to play a musical instrument because they connect the desire to learn with easy access to instruction.

By turning dreams into reality, tech teaching tools are helping erase a longstanding source of regret: According to an earlier Gallup poll, 85 percent of Americans who do not play a musical instrument wish that they did.

While tech alone isn't turning beginners into masters, survey results indicate that it's helping ignite and sustain interest among youth. One in three (33 percent) 8 to 21-year-old music students also take in-person lessons with a teacher or in a group, a finding that illustrates how technology is coexisting with tradition.  

The survey found a robust interest in learning to play a musical instrument. In the past year, 30 percent of the population ages 8 and older made an attempt to learn how to play or better play a musical instrument, especially 8 to 21 year olds (55 percent), with guitar, piano and keyboard players especially keen on using tech methods.

The survey findings are significant as the music retail industry seeks to broaden access to music education and the pleasure and wellness benefits of playing an instrument. 

"Since the harnessing of electricity and the birth of the electric guitar we have seen technology's sweeping impact on music making," said Joe Lamond, NAMM president and CEO. "Technology is making it easier to play, record and teach music, expanding the number of music makers and helping more people experience the joy of making music."

For example, Chromatik, a new education app, allows teacher and students to record, annotate and share lessons.  And Apple and Fender recently released a guitar with a USB port that facilitates connecting with music programs and products.

"When people use technology to enhance their opportunities, it is very positive," said Menzie Pittman, owner and director of education at Virginia's Contemporary Music Centers.  Teachers at his music stores use technology in lessons to reinforce rhythm for drummers, provide references for music history, and demonstrate applications of lessons' subject matter. Still, technology can take a student only so far.

"When people substitute tech gadgetry in place of the true understanding of the instrument, the result is limited at best," said Pittman. "Technique is technique, and that will always be the case."

The findings are the result of a nationally representative online survey of 3,245 U.S. residents ages 8+, living in the United States, conducted by Harris Interactive, October 17-24, 2012, on behalf of NAMM.

About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. NAMM's activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,000 Member companies located in more than 87 countries. For more information about NAMM or the proven benefits of making music, interested parties can visit, call 800-767-NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.   

Elizabeth Lascaze
[email protected]

SOURCE The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)

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