Music in Community

Music in Communities Choirs What is community music?

Community music is music played in communities. It can be recreational, cultural or religious and can embrace any genre, from classical to popular to traditional music from diverse cultures. Community music is generally practiced on an amateur and non-profit basis, although there are professional musicians who work in communities.

A strong community music program will embody the idea that everybody has the right and ability to make, create and enjoy their own music, and will encourage participants to strive for excellence in both the processes and products of music making suited to individual participants’ goals.

Community music has great benefits for its participants and their communities, offering a strong sense of belonging and connectedness, bringing people together across age, culture and ability boundaries. Community music need only have music making as its chief purpose, but can be valuable as a means to achieve other outcomes.

Did you know?
  • 14% of Australians play a musical instrument
  • 20% of Australians are involved in creating music
  • Two in three people listen to music on the radio or television every day
  • About half of Australians stream music online
  • 48% of Australians consider themselves creators in some form of arts
  • 32% of young people (15–24 years) are involved in making music

From Arts in Daily Life: Australian Participation in the Arts

Benefits of community music include:

  • Foster confidence in participants’ creativity
  • Providing lifelong opportunities for learning outside formal education
  • Assisting integration of new migrants
  • Offering participants opportunities for growth, ranging from specific musical skills through to social and cultural extension and challenge
  • Building respect for the cultural property of a given locality and/or community
  • Inclusion of disenfranchised and disadvantaged individuals or groups
  • Foster inter-cultural acceptance and understanding
  • Embody idea that everyone has an ability and right to make and enjoy their own music
  • Enable accessible music making opportunities for members of the community
  • Adopt multiple and flexible teaching, learning and facilitation processes and relationships

In Australia, community music can be identified as one or more of these types of community music:

  • Amateur music
  • Communal music
  • Music of a community
  • Music Interventions

Read about different approaches to community music

At Music Australia we encourage Australians to make more music and support all types of community music groups.  We are committed to helping to build the capacity of individuals and groups to develop and sustain effective recreational music making programs in communities. Music Australia’s Music in Communities Network ran for several years, offering services to community music organisations and individuals:

We provide:

  • The latest in community music information, statistics and case studies, shared on our website, in our Music Journal and in our fortnightly enewsletter
  • Connections with other people working and volunteering in community music
  • Engagement with governments to advocate for music making in local communities
  • Members with a connection to a credible and respected advocacy organisation
  • Members with discounted Public Liability Insurance, and promotional opportunities

We welcome as members leaders and organisers of community music groups, musicians, music therapists, music teachers, those considering starting a music group, local council cultural officers, representatives of cultural centres, conservatoria and music schools, and anyone with a passion for making music happen.

Learn more about Music Australia membership

Further information about the Community music can be found by visiting:




Stay in the loop

Music Australia updates straight to your inbox

Follow Like
Quick Links


  • National clearing house for policy & development

  • Music Journal

    Features articles about the Music Industry Sector

  • Music Talks

    Series of seminars exploring music