The Glee Effect? More Americans Say Music Education Prepares People for Their Careers and Problem Solving Than in 2007

    New York , N.Y. – July 24, 2014 – Maybe it was flute lessons. Or, perhaps, it was just a few years of singing in the high school chorus. For some, it could have been just playing with some friends in the garage. Whatever it might have been, three-quarters of Americans (76%) have had some sort of music education during school with half (49%) being in a chorus and more than two in five (43%) taking formal instrument lessons. Two in five Americans (39%) played in a school orchestra or band, while over one in ten played in an informal group, such as a garage band (14%) or took formal vocal lessons (13%).

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll¨ of 2,286 adults surveyed online between May 14 and 19, 2014.

    Those who were involved in a music program also stayed with it for at least a few years. Less than one in five (16%) continued with their music program for less than one year, while three in ten (30%) stayed with it for one to less than three years. But half (49%) stayed with it longer – more than one in five (22%) were involved for 3 to 5 years, one in five (20%) for more than 5 years and almost one in ten (8%) are still involved. Those who took vocal lessons and played in an informal group are more likely to say they are still involved in a musical program (18% and 24% respectively).

    The more time one spends in a music program, the more they are to say it has been influential in contributing to their current level of personal fulfillment. Among all those involved in a music program, over one-third (37%) say it was extremely or very influential with one-third (32%) saying it was somewhat influential. Among those who spent less than three years in a music program, one in five (20%) say it was extremely or very influential, but that rises to one-third (35%) for those involved for 3-5 years, jumps to three in five (59%) for those involved 5 or more years, and skyrockets to four in five (81%) of those still involved in music.

    The skills music education can provide

    Music education can provide more than just learning how to sing and/or play an instrument. It also has the ability to provide various skills that people may need for success in a job or career outside of music. In fact, over half of those involved in a music program say music education was extremely or very important in providing them with the skills of working towards common goals (54%) and striving for individual excellence in a group setting (52%), while half (49%) say it provided them with a disciplined approach to solving problems. Almost half of those involved in a music program say music provided them with the skills of creative problem solving (47%) and flexibility in a work situation (45%). What is interesting to note is that all of these are up since these questions were previously asked in 2007. Then, 44% said music education provided them with the skill of working toward common goals and just 36% say it provided them with flexibility in work situations.

     

    Music education prepares people for life

    Among all adults, there is also a sense that music education is important. Seven in ten Americans (71%) say that the learnings and habits from music education equip people to be better team players in their careers while two thirds say it provides people with a disciplined approach to solving problems (67%) and prepares someone to manage the tasks of their job more successfully (66%). In 2007, two-thirds (66%) said music education prepared people to be better team players, while three in five said it provided a disciplined problem solving approach (61%) and prepared people to manage tasks more successfully (59%).

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    TABLE 1

    MUSIC PARTICIPATION

    During your years in school, when and how did you participate in music? Please select all that apply.

    Base: All adults

    Total 2007

    Total 2014

    Elementary School

    Jr. High School

    High School

    College

    None of these

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Chorus or vocal group

    51

    49

    29

    26

    22

    4

    51

    Formal lessons involving an instrument

    42

    43

    28

    23

    16

    3

    57

    School instrumental ensembles, such as orchestra or band

    35

    39

    21

    21

    18

    3

    61

    Informal groups, such as garage bands

    14

    14

    3

    5

    9

    4

    86

    Formal vocal lessons

    12

    13

    6

    5

    6

    3

    87

    Something else involving music

    24

    24

    11

    11

    14

    9

    76

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding;

    TABLE 1b

    WHO PARTICIPATED IN MUSIC

    During your years in school, when and how did you participate in music?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    2014

    %

    All Adults

    76

    Gender

    Men

    73

    Women

    78

    Region

    East

    75

    Midwest

    76

    South

    73

    West

    80

    Generation

    Millennials (18-36)

    80

    Gen X (37-48)

    76

    Baby Boomers (49-67)

    71

    Matures (68+)

    75

    Race/Ethnicity

    White

    75

    African-American

    76

    Hispanic

    79

    Education

    High School or less

    72

    Some college

    76

    College graduate

    80

    Post-graduate

    79

    Household Income

    $34,999 or less

    73

    $35,000-$49,999

    76

    $50,000-$74,999

    76

    $75,000-$99,999

    77

    $100,000-$149,999

    76

    $150,000+

    80


    TABLE 2

    TIME WITH MUSIC PROGRAM

    How long did you continue with this music program?’

    Base: Involved in Music Program

    Total 2007

    Total 2014

    Education

    HS or less

    Some College

    College Grad

    Post Grad

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Less than one year

    14

    16

    19

    15

    11

    18

    One to less than three years

    33

    30

    34

    28

    29

    22

    Three to five years

    22

    22

    22

    20

    23

    23

    More than five years

    19

    19

    14

    18

    25

    27

    Still involved in a musical program

    9

    8

    5

    12

    7

    8

    Not sure

    4

    6

    6

    6

    6

    2

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 3

    TIME WITH MUSIC PROGRAM – By type of music program

    How long did you continue with this music program?’

    Base: Involved in Music Program

    Total 2014

    Type of Music Program

    Chorus

    Instrument Lesson

    Orchestra or Band

    Vocal Lessons

    Garage Band

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Less than one year

    16

    14

    11

    13

    10

    13

    One to less than three years

    30

    29

    26

    24

    21

    20

    Three to five years

    22

    22

    22

    23

    21

    19

    More than five years

    19

    20

    25

    24

    23

    21

    Still involved in a musical program

    8

    9

    10

    10

    18

    24

    Not sure

    6

    6

    6

    5

    6

    3

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding


    TABLE 4

    INFLUENCE OF MUSIC EDUCATION

    Thinking back on your music education, how influential do you believe music education has been in contributing to your current level of personal fulfillment?

    Base: Involved in Music Program

    Total 2007

    Total 2014

    Education

    HS or less

    Some College

    College Grad

    Post Grad

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    EXTREMELY/VERY INFLUENTIAL (NET)

    37

    37

    30

    44

    36

    40

    Extremely influential

    17

    20

    16

    27

    18

    22

    Very influential

    20

    16

    14

    18

    18

    18

    Somewhat influential

    33

    32

    31

    32

    35

    31

    Not influential at all

    25

    26

    30

    19

    26

    26

    Not sure

    6

    5

    8

    4

    3

    3

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 5

    INFLUENCE OF MUSIC EDUCATION

    Thinking back on your music education, how influential do you believe music education has been in contributing to your current level of personal fulfillment?

    Base: Involved in Music Program

    Total 2014

    Years in Music

    Type of Music

    Less than 3

    3-5 years

    5+ years

    Still involved

    Chorus

    Inst. Lessons

    Orch or band

    Vocal lessons

    Garage band

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    EXTREMELY/VERY INFLUENTIAL (NET)

    37

    20

    35

    59

    81

    40

    44

    45

    61

    68

    Extremely influential

    20

    9

    19

    32

    62

    23

    25

    25

    35

    43

    Very influential

    16

    11

    16

    28

    19

    18

    19

    20

    26

    25

    Somewhat influential

    32

    31

    43

    32

    15

    31

    31

    31

    26

    19

    Not influential at all

    26

    41

    18

    6

    3

    24

    19

    20

    10

    11

    Not sure

    5

    7

    4

    2

    2

    5

    6

    5

    3

    2

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding


    TABLE 6

    MUSIC EDUCATION PROVIDES SKILLS

    Music education has the ability to provide various skills that you may need for success in a job or career outside of music. For example, instilling work habits or ways of thinking about things learned in music that can be applied to the job or career. How important was music education in providing you with the following skills?

    Base: Involved in music program

    Extremely/Very Important (NET)

    Extremely Important

    Very Important

    Somewhat Important

    Not important at all

    Not sure

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Working towards common goals

    54

    26

    28

    21

    19

    6

    Striving for individual excellence in a group setting

    52

    26

    26

    21

    21

    7

    Disciplined approach to solving problems

    49

    25

    23

    21

    24

    7

    Creative problem solving

    47

    23

    23

    19

    27

    7

    Flexibility in work situations

    45

    22

    23

    19

    27

    8

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 7

    MUSIC EDUCATION PROVIDES SKILLS

    Music education has the ability to provide various skills that you may need for success in a job or career outside of music. For example, instilling work habits or ways of thinking about things learned in music that can be applied to the job or career. How important was music education in providing you with the following skills?

    Percent saying Extremely/Very Important

    Base: Involved in Music Program

    Total 2007

    Total 2014

    Education

    HS or less

    Some College

    College Grad

    Post Grad

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Working towards common goals

    44

    54

    54

    58

    53

    49

    Striving for individual excellence in a group setting

    47

    52

    46

    59

    52

    49

    Disciplined approach to solving problems

    41

    49

    45

    53

    49

    45

    Creative problem solving

    37

    47

    44

    50

    49

    43

    Flexibility in work situations

    36

    45

    43

    49

    43

    41

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 8

    MUSIC EDUCATION PROVIDES SKILLS

    Music education has the ability to provide various skills that you may need for success in a job or career outside of music. For example, instilling work habits or ways of thinking about things learned in music that can be applied to the job or career. How important was music education in providing you with the following skills?

    Base: Involved in Music Program

    Total 2014

    Years in Music

    Type of Music

    Less than 3

    3-5 years

    5+

    years

    Still involved

    Chorus

    Inst.

    Lessons

    Orch or band

    Vocal

    lessons

    Garage

    band

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Working towards common goals

    54

    44

    57

    67

    76

    57

    58

    58

    74

    65

    Striving for individual excellence in a group setting

    52

    37

    52

    69

    88

    55

    56

    55

    75

    70

    Disciplined approach to solving problems

    49

    36

    50

    62

    78

    51

    52

    53

    71

    64

    Creative problem solving

    47

    36

    49

    55

    80

    49

    50

    51

    71

    61

    Flexibility in work situations

    45

    34

    48

    56

    72

    48

    47

    49

    67

    62

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 9

    WHAT MUSIC EDUCATION PREPARES PEOPLE FOR

    Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements?

    Base: All adults

    AGREE

    (NET)

    Strongly

    Agree

    Somewhat

    Agree

    DISAGREE

    (NET)

    Somewhat disagree

    Strongly

    Disagree

    Not

    Sure

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Learnings and habits from music education equip people to be better team players in their careers

    71

    30

    40

    14

    9

    5

    15

    Learnings and habits from music education provide you with a disciplined approach to solving programs

    67

    25

    42

    17

    11

    6

    16

    Learnings and habits from music education prepare someone to manage the tasks of their job more successfully

    66

    24

    42

    16

    11

    5

    17

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 9

    WHAT MUSIC EDUCATION PREPARES PEOPLE FOR

    Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements?

    Base: All adults

    Total 2007

    Total 2014

    Participated in music

    Education

    Yes

    No

    HS or Less

    Some College

    College Grad

    Post Grad

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Learnings and habits from music education equip people to be better team players in their careers

    66

    71

    77

    51

    65

    75

    75

    72

    Learnings and habits from music education provide you with a disciplined approach to solving programs

    61

    67

    72

    53

    62

    71

    72

    71

    Learnings and habits from music education prepare someone to manage the tasks of their job more successfully

    59

    66

    71

    52

    59

    71

    72

    70

    Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between May 14 and 19, 2014 among 2,286 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

     

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

    The Harris Poll¨ #72, July 24, 2014

    By Regina A. Corso, VP, Harris Poll and Public Relations Research

    About Nielsen & The Harris Poll

    On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.