Piano and guitar are tops

The National Association of Music Merchants commissioned the Gallup Organization in 1997 to conduct a national study of amateur music participation in the US. What follows are some of the findings:

*Almost all respondents (94 percent) overwhelmingly agreed that music participation develops a child's creativity.

*Four out of 10 households own at least one musical instrument. Pianos and guitars continue to be the most popular, while more males are likely to play the guitar and females, the piano.

*Upper-income households are more likely to own an instrument than lower-income households.

*The number of 12- to 17-year-olds who first learned to play music at school has gone up more than 30 percent from 50 years ago. At the same time, the number learning music through private lessons has gone down by almost 25 percent.

*Nine in 10 respondents said that playing in a school band is a good way to develop teamwork. Seven in 10 said participation in a school-music program often corresponds to better grades and test scores.

*Almost half of adults believe that it isn't worthwhile to invest in an instrument unless a child has demonstrated some degree of musical talent.

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