The Sound of the Next Generation

Our latest research report for Youth Music shows that music is essential in young people’s lives, significantly improving their wellbeing.

Our latest report for Youth Music reveals that music is essential to the wellbeing of young people, with 85% of participants saying that music made them feel happy. Large numbers also said it made them feel cool (41%) and excited (39%). When asked how they would feel if they had to go without music for even one day, overwhelmingly they said they would be sad.

The Sound of the Next Generation is a new research report published by Youth Music, a national charity investing in music-making projects that help children and young people develop personally and socially as well as musically. The charity works particularly with those who don’t get to make music because of who they are, where they live, or what they’re going through.

Youth Music worked with Ipsos MORI to conduct online surveys with a representative sample of 1,001 young people aged 7 to 17 across England, as well as in-depth interviews with participants involved in Youth Music projects.

This youth-focused research offers ground-breaking insights into the diverse ways young people engage with and value music and music-making, bringing to light the positive and meaningful impact music has for them.


Key Findings

  • Music is young people's favourite pastime, equal to gaming and ahead of sport, drama, dancing, and arts and crafts. Well aware of how music affects their emotions, young people are drawing on it as a tool to support their wellbeing. They carefully curate the soundtracks to their lives. Just like a musical score for a film, young people are using music to convey and reflect their feelings, to change their emotional state, and to regulate their mood.
  • Making music has a deeper and more profound impact than listening to it. Young people interviewed said they see music-making as a vital part of their lives - something which makes them feel worthwhile and helps explore their emotions.
  • 64% of young people think they are musical, up from 48% in 2006.
  • 97% of young people had listened to music in the last week.
  • Ed Sheeran, Little Mix and Stormzy were named as young people’s favourite acts, yet overall the 1,001 respondents named 633 different artists spanning more than 300 different genres.
  • 67% of young people make music.
  • 30% of young people play an instrument - of which 25% said that they are teaching themselves and 23% have been taught by a friend or family member.
  • 71% of 7-10 year old girls regularly sing.
  • 19% of 16-17 year old young men make music on a computer.

Visit the Youth Music website here:


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