Resurgence in classical music listeners during COVID-19 lockdowns

by | Apr 13, 2021 | Arts

More people are listening to classical music during the pandemic. Those under 35 years old were most likely to listen to orchestral music throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study. (Manuel Nägeli/Unsplash)

A report by The Royal Philharmonic shows more people under 35 are streaming classical music since the pandemic took hold last year.

There was a 17 per cent worldwide increase of classical listeners on the music streaming service Deezer, between April 2019 and April 2020, according to the report by The Royal Philharmonic (RPO), Deezer and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

Those under 35 were most likely to listen to orchestral music during the lockdown. This comes after 59 per cent of these results were compared to 51 per cent national average.

“What is most impactful, important, and influential is the quality, accessibility, delivery, and style of instruction of music education as well as the support of music education in the school system,” said Mia Bach, instructor and collaborative pianist at the University of Toronto.

“That is what continually attracts a current young generation, creates interest, engagement, and achievement,” she said.

Bach said in an email interview classical music is an excellent way to develop and support good mental and emotional health.

The report suggests 35 per cent of respondents say orchestral music helped them relax, stay calm and maintain a sense of wellbeing while 18 per cent of respondents listen to orchestral music to lift their spirits.

Listening to orchestral music has encouraged 15 per cent of respondents to learn a musical instrument.

“Interest in classical music among younger people can partly be explained by children’s first experiences of learning a musical instrument from a young age,” the report said.

At a national level, 66 per cent of adults under 35 years old say their children play or are learning how to play a musical instrument. In comparison, 74 per cent of adults say their children complete an hour or more of musical practice per week.

The report suggests 55 per cent of those between 18 and 24, and 60 per cent of people aged 25 and 34 have listened to orchestral music during a lockdown. Looking at the 33 to 44 year old age group, 51 per cent say they’ve listened to such music.

“There has always been a rise and fall pattern of interest,” Bach said.

As a faculty member at U of T for more than 20 years, Bach taught courses in many areas of music — including applied piano, collaborative piano, and vocal courses in Piano/Vocal repertoire, Oratorio and Advanced German diction.

She says the age range of students she currently teaches among undergraduates and graduates is between 17 and 25. In her private studio, Bach teaches all ages ranging from five to 50 years and older.

“I have always had as many students as I can handle, so I can say that throughout my career I have noticed that there has always been interest in learning music and learning instruments,” she said.

A piktochart details the global consumption of Deezer’s classical music streams during the pandemic: