Kids tune out passion for music once they hit teens
Young people lose their interest in playing musical instruments from the age of 13, according to a national music education programme backed by U2.
Music Generation is calling for an overhaul in how music is taught to teenagers, saying that while 75pc of the programme's 20,000 participants are between the ages of five and 12, this drops to 17.5pc for teenagers aged 13 and up.
Speaking at the Music Generation Annual Conference at the National Concert Hall yesterday, national director Rosaleen Molloy said the statistics represent an "important challenge" for the programme, which has received funding from the Department of Education since July.
Ms Molloy said: "We have found that children don't necessarily participate in music tuition because they are enthusiastic about practising or excited about an end of term concert.
"The social experience of music making, having fun with friends and being able to experiment creatively through music are some of the main reasons why children and young people stay with music."
Among the programme's strategies are opening up all kinds of music education to young people - not just classical training, but pop, rock, rap, jazz and contemporary music. It recommends that young people get to decide which music to focus on, rather than the traditional method of teacher-led training.
As part of the two-day conference, more than 250 young people from Laois, Sligo and Mayo performed in front of President Higgins.