Learning music helps Birmingham kids hit a happy note, music charity finds

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Three-quarters (75%) of Birmingham school children say they feel happier as a result of learning to play a musical instrument, the city’s largest music education provider has found.

The Music Service, part of Birmingham not-for-profit charity Services for Education, surveyed a sample of children and young people in their central ensemble aged 5 to 19, to understand the positive impact learning to play music has had on their lives.

The research coincides with the start of the Music Service’s annual Gala Concerts in which 4,000 school children from Birmingham perform in one of the 26 musical groups at Symphony Hall (from 17-21 July ). The concerts also mark the 50th year of the Music Service which delivers subsidised music education to 38,000 school children every year in 384 Birmingham schools.  It also provides 28,000 musical instruments free of charge to school children.

Ciaran O’Donnell, Head of the Music Service said: “This survey confirms what we see in our young musicians on a weekly basis. Our young musicians enjoy and achieve together through music. They are making friends with people from different walks of life and from the diverse communities of the city. It’s a very empowering experience. At a time where the mental health of young people is at an all-time high; it is reassuring to know the role that music can play in a young person’s overall well-being.”

The survey also found that 83% of respondents have made more friends as a result of learning to play a musical instrument.

The mother of one of the performers, 14-year-old Felix Hallett, who plays in the Music Service’s Jazz Band, said: “Learning to play a musical instrument has allowed Felix to make friends in different circles other than his year group at school. His music lessons have seen him make friends with older children which has benefited him since starting secondary school. 

“Without the Music Service, Felix would not have found his love of learning music.  It is an invaluable service for school children in Birmingham,” said Nutmeg Hallett.

The concerts bring together families from across the city to celebrate music and achievements of young people.

For more information about the Music Service please visit www.servicesforeduation.co.uk