ABRSM Making Music 2021

ABRSM’s Making Music is a longitudinal series of reports tracking trends in music education over the last three decades. It provides the music education sector with data we can all use to promote the value and importance of music and insight into the needs of teachers and learners. You can download our most recent report, published in 2021, below:

History of the ABRSM Making Music reports

We published our first report in 1994. This market research was drawn from our own customers, but provided a valuable insight into music teaching and learning more generally in the UK. We published two further reports in this format in 1997 and 2000. In 2014, we decided to complete a new edition of the Making Music series, expanding it by working with an external research company, Critical Research, and with partners in the music education sector. This edition gave an even clearer picture of music teaching and learning in the UK and has been cited by many other organisations in the music education sector.

How have we completed ABRSM Making Music 2021?

We once again commissioned Critical Research to work with us on this project. Survey questions were very similar to those used in previous editions, however we took the opportunity to update them to reflect the diversity of people engaging in music and the changing way in which people learn, create and share music in the UK. Following on from the Music Commission report published in March 2019, we were also interested in gathering data relating to the impact of digital technology, social-economic background and special educational needs and disabilities on learner progression.

The survey has two parts: a learner survey covering both children and adults; and a teacher survey. We recruited a panel of 1500 child and 1500 adult respondents to the learner survey to ensure the sample is representative of the UK population. For the teacher survey we heard from all music teachers working in the UK regardless of the genre, instrument or type of teaching they undertake.

The bulk of the data collection was conducted in 2020, just prior to the pandemic. Clearly, the last couple of years has influenced the way we make and learn music. It is for this reason that have waited to publish the report so that we could also include a special section on digital teaching and learning and included some data on music making during lockdown.

You can view our previous Making Music report from 2014, here.

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