Ninety per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds get involved with the arts both in and out of school, according to an Arts Council report published this week.
The MORI survey showed pupils liked sketching, drawing and painting best. Writing stories or poetry, acting and computer graphics were popular in school, photograhy and reading came top outside class.
More than half the pupils in the sample of 4,532 played a musical instrument, often without formal tuition. Younger children were more likely to play an instrument than older pupils - only 14 per cent of 15 and 16-year-olds did so.
A slightly higher percentage of girls than boys were involved in the arts, but boys did more computer graphics than girls - 48 per cent compared with 28 per cent.
Pupils from ethnic minorities were more involved in dance, film and video-making than white children.
In Wales nearly twice as many children were choir members than in England (25 per cent compared with 13 per cent), and in the North fewer pupils took part in the arts. Parents had a strong influence on children's enthusiasm for going to events, galleries or museums.
Secondary school pupils and the arts: report of a MORI research study is available, price Pounds 7.50, from The Arts Council of England, 14 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 3NQ.