The Sound of the Next Generation: Youth Music’s 2024 Report

Youth Music’s 2024 report, “Sound of the Next Generation” captures the evolving relationship between young people and music in the UK.

The survey, conducted with 2,100 children and young people, reveals how music continues to be a vital part of their lives, amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis. This comprehensive report delves into how young people access, feel about, and engage with music, and offers crucial recommendations for fostering a thriving music culture.

The Role of Music in Young Lives

Music plays a crucial role in the lives of young people, offering them a way to connect, express themselves, and navigate their emotions. 78% of young people associate music with happiness, and 70% say it helps them feel connected to others. Music surpasses other activities like sports, social media, and gaming, becoming the top leisure activity for Gen Z and Gen Alpha.

Challenges and Barriers

Despite the positive impact of music, there are significant barriers to access, particularly in educational settings. The report highlights a decline in school music programs, with only 11% of parents of young children believing their kids will receive adequate music education in school. This drop in formal music education is paralleled by a rise in digital and informal music-making, reflecting changing trends in how young people engage with music.

Inequalities in Music Access

The report sheds light on the persistent inequalities in access to music. Children from lower-income backgrounds, rural areas, and marginalised groups face more barriers to engaging with music. This includes the lack of local opportunities, and insufficient support within schools. The grassroots music sector, which plays a vital role in nurturing young talent, is underfunded and struggling, further exacerbating these inequalities.

The Digital Shift and Modern Music Education

Digital technology has transformed music-making and learning. Many young people now use tablets, phones, and computers to create music. However, there is a noticeable decline in traditional music education methods, such as one-on-one lessons in schools. The report advocates for a more inclusive and diverse music curriculum that reflects global music cultures and leverages digital tools.

The Future of Music

Young people are optimistic about the future of music, with many embracing new technologies like AI to aid their creative processes. However, they also express concerns about the commodification and disposability of music in the digital age. The report calls for a balance between embracing new technologies and preserving the emotional and communal aspects of music-making.


To address these challenges, Youth Music recommends:

  1. Long-term Investment in Music Education: A national strategy and funding plan that includes grassroots youth and community music.
  2. Inclusive and Diverse Music Curriculum: Schools should diversify their music curriculum to include global music traditions and modern digital tools.
  3. Support for Marginalised Groups: Targeted support to ensure equal access to music opportunities for all young people, regardless of their background.


The “Sound of the Next Generation” report underscores the enduring importance of music in the lives of young people. It calls for collective action to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to engage with music, which is not only a source of joy and connection but also a vital tool for personal and social development. At the MLC, we firmly believe that by investing in inclusive music education and supporting grassroots initiatives, we can foster a thriving, diverse, and equitable music culture for future generations.

Get in touch with us to see how we can help support, unlock and fulfil your child’s potential.

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