A survey has shown that millions of British youngster have been inspired to learn to play an instrument after playing music console games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

The survey, carried out by the UK's largest music charity Youth Music, said that 2.5 million young people in Britain have progressed into "real" music-making after playing the games.

In fact, 19% of young people surveyed said they now play a musical instrument after being inspired to do so by playing a music-based console game.

The survey also found that out of 12 million youngsters in the UK aged between three and 18, over half of them play music games on consoles.

Andrew Missingham is a music industry expert who carried out the report. He said: "The music games are popular because they are family friendly and inclusive".

"And it is this take-up of the games that is credited with the take up of musical instruments, the development of transferable musical skills and even the development of performance confidence".

"This research for the first time shows conclusively that young people are being inspired to make their own music by games that first piqued their interest".

Christina Coker, chief executive of Youth Music, believes now is the time to capitalise on this wave of potential musicians.

She said: "We have established that there is a huge potential audience of new musicians and music-makers out there playing these games.

"Now, we and others in the music education community, should be capitalising on that interest and encouraging young people to take up real instruments.

"But we should also be thinking about how we can incorporate consoles and games into 'traditional' music education and be more open to embracing these tools in our teaching".