In: The Oxford Handbook of Music Making and Leisure


Many young people are involved in extracurricular music-making activities that may be considered as ‘leisure’ or ‘recreation’, such as playing in bands, making demo recordings, or live performance, for example. This chapter will begin by outlining what is understood, (for the purposes of this work) as ‘musical activity’ by way of contextualising the following discussion, which will primarily consider the ways in which young people engage with music-making as a leisure activity. As such musical activities are often self-directed, self-funded and fuelled principally by the enthusiasm and autodidacticism of participants, the author will then turn to discuss the ecology of informal music-making amongst young people, specifically considering three areas, as follows:

  1. The development of skills, competencies and creativities
  2. The economic/commercial/professional pressures to monetise musical activity
  3. The nature of learning and progression in extra-curricular musical activity

Music-making, when considered as a leisure activity, is a cultural/social phenomenon that enjoys an interesting and complex relationship with education and industry. In exploring these interrelated areas, the author will draw on his practical experience of running youth music projects and will present qualitative data gathered from interviews with project participants in order to highlight the interconnected nature of leisure, education and industry and its impact on the musical activity of young people.

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