There may be a lot of white hair among audiences at classical music concerts, but membership of youth orchestras is thriving.
Governments have kicked the status of music around as they continually change priorities in the National Curriculum, but rather than being the elitist luxury some philistine politicians hold music to be, the undeniable popularity of the subject in schools demonstrates just how vital it is to us all.
We could go on about the importance of the arts to the country's commercial well-being, but instead let's concentrate on simple value in terms of self-esteem, teamwork and responsibility music gives to our youngsters in schools.
On a recent visit to the Arthur Terry Performing Arts Specialist School in Four Oaks, I caught up with some sixth-form students to look at the balance between theory, history and performance as delivered in their musical education, both here and in their previous schools.
The balance between instrumental tuition and general class music also came into discussion.
"It was a completely different experience from here. There was only a tiny music department there, and they didn't concentrate a lot on performing. It's more about the theory side, so I know more about that," explains Jennifer Loffman, a 17-year-old pianist who joined Arthur Terry last year from another school in Sutton Coldfield.
"Here they do a lot more performing in front of the class, which is really good, building up your confidence quite a lot."
Myke McLean, a 17-year-old violinist, also joined last year, coming from a school in Erdington. He tells me how the music department at this former school was "a lot more formal".
"There was a really good music teacher there who helped me with a lot of the theory and got me through my theory grades (in order to progress with performing grades students need to have passed Grade Five Theory) and I got my grades for the violin.
"I only started the violin in Year Seven, so I got a lot of help from that school, even though it wasn't that advanced in terms of music. My teacher was really good to me and supported me very well.
"But when I came to Arthur Terry, the music's much bigger here, and there's more opportunities to play, and as Jen quite rightly said, we've got a lot more opportunities to play in front of the class, and of course that builds up confidence."
Unlike Jen and Myke, 17-year-old flautist Louise Everett has been an Arthur Terry pupil all through her secondary school years, and recalls how things were at primary school.
"My flute teacher taught several other instruments, so he didn't concentrate too much on individuals, but we did have a choir, and we had music lessons for the whole class."
She found quite a contrast here.
"It was really good here. In Year Seven they have mixed-ability classes, so you get some people who play instruments and some who don't at all.
"But in music lessons they try to develop everyone, and there are so many peripatetic instrumental teachers coming here that the group sizes are pretty small, so you have lots of individual attention. The teachers get very involved in extra-curricular activities, like orchestra and other ensembles."
General class music-teaching for all pupils in secondary schools stops at the end of Year Nine, but by that time the children will have chosen their GCSE options.
Here, the numbers choosing to continue with music are huge.
"We've got roughly 100 in year 10 and 11 at the moment doing music GCSE, so that's 20 per cent in each year group, which we think is quite large for a comprehensive school," says Chris Collett, head of the music department.
It's partly a question of motivation, as Steph Poole, a 16-year-old clarinettist who has also been at Arthur Terry throughout her secondary school life, explains.
"It's been quite different here from my old primary school, where I quit my instrument," she says. "I started playing in Year Four, when I was about 10, and I wasn't hugely good at it, and I didn't have the time to practice, and I wasn't really into it.
"And then I came here and decided I wanted to pick it back up again, and they were so supportive of me. I found it really good, because I hadn't been very successful the first time around, and I missed it.
"I started playing in the orchestras and stuff like that, and at first I thought 'oh, not orchestra!' because it was taking up my lunchtimes, but then I got so into it, I wouldn't miss it now.
"I really enjoy it, because it gives me the whole experience of playing with other people and learning things that I don't learn when I'm with my teacher."
Chris Collett describes how achieving specialist status has helped the performing arts departments in the school, saying: "It's brought a lot of extra income into the school, not only to work within the school, but also in our communities. We have community classes that now run in the evenings.
"Specifically for music, we have a community choir, for which the accompanist and conductor are paid for out of performing arts money, a music appreciation group which is growing in popularity, and we have a keyboard class now.
"We work with seven partner primary schools and a partner secondary school in a deprived area of Birmingham. That's Stock-land Green School, and that's been a very beneficial experience for us and for them - I've learned as much as they have, I feel.
"Plus, it's brought in extra funding for dance and drama, as well as music. And currently the whole school is having a complete rebuild, which should be completed by the end of next year. We're having three brand-new classrooms, eight practice-rooms and a recording studio.
"We get very good support from Birmingham Music Service. We have 14 visiting teachers here teaching 250 students out of a school of 1500, so it's one in six.
"That's partly as a result of being an arts college, being able to support some areas which we couldn't afford in the past - people on income support, and free instrumental lessons for A-level students."
Ensemble work within the school offers an immediate and purposeful outcome to solo learning.
"Yes, we have school orchestras, two choirs, a soul band, and smaller ensembles as well," says Chris.
In class music these days how much emphasis is there on practical work (keyboard work and percussion for all, and so on) and composition as opposed to theory?
Louise Everett describes how "here a lot of it is performing. I can't remember doing much theory, because people enjoy performing more".
The conversation ends with a consideration of the status of music, particularly classical music, within the school.
"In the school generally, music means a lot to people because we do a school show every year (this year it's West Side Story) and we are all involved in the band," says Steph.
"There's so many people in the school who are not taking music as a subject, but they do it as an extra-curricular thing."
The soul band performed at the German Christmas Market in Victoria Square last weekend.
A new initiative, the Arts Award Scheme, is also engaging pupils with music, as Steph explains.
"Basically, it's gold, silver and bronze - a bit like the Duke of Edinburgh's Award," she says. "It covers all sorts of areas, and you have to engage with people in the arts. So you go into loads of primary schools performing at music events."
Chris endorses the scheme, saying: "It's externally assessed by Trinity College, London, and it does now attract Ucas accreditation as well, so that when you apply for university entry it counts towards your credit scores, which is good."
Jen has the last word about the respect given to classical music from the pupils in general.
"I think it's more than you can imagine, really, because people admire the musicians for their skills and what they can do," she says.