The purpose of this study was to survey students on college (university) campuses to generate knowledge about music participation and nonparticipation by nonmajors in order to better inform school music practices. Volunteer research assistants (N = 24), located at multiple sites across the United States and beyond, assisted with the data-gathering process, which involved a short on-the-street survey of passersby. In addition to ascertaining participation and nonparticipation in music and possible relationships with selected variables (academic year, academic major, race/ethnicity, gender, musical instrument), the survey sought responses aimed at discerning reasons for participation and nonparticipation, and the likelihood of future participation. Results revealed a reported rate of participation in music ensembles of 14.6%, with an attrition rate of 75-80% for those citing high school music involvement. There were few significant relationships with selected variables, suggesting that college music participation is likely a phenomenon not reducible to isolated variables. The most frequently cited reason for nonparticipation among those with precollege experience was "I don’t have the time." The highest-rated item among college music participants was "I love my instrument and/or I love singing." Reported likelihood of future participation was significantly higher for current participants than for nonparticipants with precollege experience, but was not especially strong overall, raising the question of whether college music participation is viewed as a transition activity or as an indicator of lifelong participation in music.

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