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Playing a musical instrument requires economic capital and represents cultural capital. Thus, the odds to play an instrument are low for children from low-capital families. Moreover, if low-capital children are musically active, they should choose instruments providing lower distinction values. Thus, we investigated how economic capital (via International Socioeconomic Index of Occupation, ISEI) and music-related cultural capital (via parental musical activity) act together in explaining (a) whether children play any musical instrument and (b) explain the choice of classical vs. other vs. no musical instrument. We surveyed n = 685 students (Mage = 9.88, SD = 0.52, 50.1 % girls) from 16 elementary schools. Logistic regression (χ2 (2) = 93.94, p ≤ .01, n = 653; correctly classifying 60.2 % of the cases) showed that the odds of child musical activity increased both with parental ISEI (odds ratio for ten point ISEI-increment = 1.03, Wald χ2 (1) = 29.59, p ≤ 01) and parental musical activity (odds ratio = 3.02, Wald χ2 (1) = 35.70, p ≤ .01. Moreover, playing an instrument related to classical music was associated with both a higher parental ISEI (F(2, 659) = 33.95, p < .001; η2 = .09) and parental musical activity. Implications of our results for equal access to musical activities are discussed.
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