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ABRSM Report on Most Popular Instruments

September 15th, 2014 by First Tutors

The ABRSM have today released their report, Making Music which sheds light on what's popular in the UK among learners young and old. Amazingly, they say that 76% of UK children now know how to play an instrument, compared to 41% in 1999. Whilst it would of course be marvellous to see the other 24% also enjoying the wonderful world of music*, we should also take a moment to rejoice in this positive trend.

Here's the Top Ten Instruments Played by young learners according to the ABRSM, compared to its popularity rank in ( ) among those searching for tutors on

  1. Keyboard (7)
  2. Piano (1)
  3. Recorder (-)
  4. Classical Guitar (2)**
  5. Drum Kit (11)
  6. Electric Guitar (2)**
  7. Violin (3)
  8. Flute (8)
  9. Percussion (-)
  10. Bass Guitar (13)

So what does this mean? Well, at a glance we'd make the following observations:

  • Some of our learners are adults as well as children, so we'd expect a slightly different set of results. We all know and remember that recorder and percussion were both very popular at school (remember playing the triangle?!).
  • There are quite a few instruments that must prove very popular with adults to fly up our search results. In particular singing, the oh-so-cool saxophone, the mighty cello and the dinky ukulele are popular choices.
  • There ought to be a few bands forming looking at that line up of instruments, so maybe we can look forward to the emergence of a new era of British talent!

If you're one of the 76%, well done, stay at it! If you've yet to give it a go, grab yourself a Penny Whistle and instructions for less than a fiver off Amazon, or if you want some help, you know where to find a tutor! :)

*We've been tweeting on how to give away your unwanted instruments, but in case you missed it, here's the link.

** Our users tend to search for 'Guitar' so we list both classical and electric together.

Categories: Research, Instruments