The BBC has launched Parent's Music Room, a site giving guidance on motivating your child to appreciate and play music. I think the ability to a play an instrument, like being fluent in a foreign language, offers incalculable benefits in life.
Call it peer pressure, but playing music just wasn't a cool thing to do at my school. Music was reserved for the lunchtime-club fraternity; when I was ripping holes in the knees of my trousers wreaking havoc on the school-yard and trying to avoid getting my already superglued glasses smashed up by hurtling footballs, they were indoors with their clarinets, bassoons and classical guitars, slowly and patiently learning a new and universal language.
My mum did hire out a clarinet for me to learn to play once; I removed it from its case, assembled it and blew down it a few times, but always made sure no-one was watching. Now I go and see the Cinematic Orchestra play and watch Tom Chant solo on alto-sax, and I think back to when I closed the case of that uncool clarinet for the last time. What a fool.