Number of people playing a musical instrument in the U.S. from 2002 to 2010 (in millions)*

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About This Statistic

This graph depicts the number of people who played a musical instrument in the U.S. from 2002 to 2010. In 2010, 18.08 million people played a musical instrument in the U.S.

Musical instruments – additional information

We can learn more about the musical playing community in the U.S. through a distribution of adults playing a musical instrument in the U.S. in 2012, by age group In that year, 20.6 percent of music playing adults were aged between 18-24 years of age. This share was larger than any other age group. The over 75s proved to be enthusiastic about playing music as they accounted for 6.9 percent of all adults.
Playing an instrument is an activity which can be enjoyed by all ages, as long as the participant is willing to put the time and effort into practicing. Despite the number of people playing rising steadily in the past, the share of adults taking a music lesson or class during their lifetime seems to be diminishing. In 1982, 47 percent of U.S. adults had taken a music class at some stage during their lifetime. However, by 2012 this share had dwindled to 35.6 percent of U.S. adults.
When it comes to the performing arts, musical genres are popular with audiences. For 2012, a ranking was produced based on the number of attendances at performing arts activities among adults in the U.S. Musical plays were found to be the most popular activity of that year with approximately 72.5 million attendances. In second place, were Jazz performances with 53.7 million attendances and the top three was rounded off with classical music performances with 53.1 million attendances. These activities ranked significantly higher than opera or ballet in 2012.

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