A Musical Life     

Illustrations: Marie-Luise Emmermann
More than 14 million Germans play a musical instrument or sing in a choir in their free time.

Music is everywhere – from children playing triangles and drums in preschools to young people and adults singing in community choirs to professional musicians filling concert halls with glorious sound. We’ve had a look around to see what’s happening in Germany’s music scene.

More than 14 million Germans play a musical instrument or sing in a choir in their free time. Of those, some 3 million are active in groups that belong to a national music association. And that doesn’t include the 700,000 supporters of those groups. That means 3.7 million people participate in Germany’s amateur music ensembles, most of whom – 60 percent – sing in choirs. Most choirs, moreover, are secular, with only one chorister in three singing in a church-affiliated group.

There are some 1.5 million members of instrumental ensembles who spend their free time making music in symphony and string orchestras, as well as in groups that feature accordions, zithers and mandolins, among other instruments. Most instrument players are members of brass and marching bands, which account for 80 percent of all Germans making music in amateur instrumental groups. (www.miz.org)

Music festivals
According to the German Music Information Center there are more than 500 music festivals throughout the country today – almost four times as many as 20 years ago. The range of events extends from festivals dedicated to classical, traditional and contemporary music to “niche” festivals that feature various types of popular music.

Music as a career
In 2013, there were approximately 47,000 salaried employees in Germany working in a music-related field. More than half worked in the areas of instrumental, orchestral or vocal music, or were employed as conductors or composers. Music educators were the second largest group, followed, with a large gap, by music-instrument makers and merchants dealing in musical goods. Not included in these statistics, however, are music teachers working at institutions offering general degrees, as well as music instructors at colleges and universities, music publishers and individuals involved in a number of other music-related fields. In addition to salaried employees, there are some 50,000 freelancers in Germany who work as musicians, composers and music educators. (www.miz.org)

Did you know that …
… there are more than 130 museums in Germany dedicated to maintaining the legacy of well-known musicians and documenting various music-related subjects? Some 50 of them are open to the public and commemorate the life’s work of artists such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Wagner. For more information including a map of Germany’s music museums visit the MIZ website. (www.miz.org/fokus_musikmuseen.html)

Number of music schools
In 1952, the year it was founded, the Association of German Music Schools had only 12 members. By 2014 that figure had increased to an impressive 929. (www.musikschulen.de)

Seventy-four percent of children from educationally non-deprived families say their parents helped them develop an interest in the arts, something maintained by only 33 percent of children from educationally deprived homes.

Disquieting …
… is the word that best describes findings from a 2015 study on young people and the arts in Germany, carried out on behalf of the Advisory Council for Cultural Education. The study’s findings show that children from educationally deprived families have a significantly lower chance of being exposed to cultural offerings than those from non-deprived families. Seventy-four percent of the latter say their parents helped them develop an interest in the arts, something maintained by only 33 percent of children from educationally deprived homes. Another important factor is the type of school a child attends. Youngsters at schools that prepare students for a university education are usually much more interested in culture and the arts than those attending less academically challenging schools or secondary schools in general (29, 18, and 12 percent, respectively). (www.rat-kulturelle-bildung.de)

Music makes you smart
Young people who take music lessons when they are young do better in school than their peers. They are also more conscientious, curious and ambitious (DIW). Those are some of the key findings from a study carried out by the German Institute for Economic Research. The statistics are based on 17-year-olds who have been involved in some form of music since the age of eight.
(www.diw.de)

Studies have shown that music can have a positive effect on children before they are born, even if researchers disagree on how much exposure to music in early childhood is truly beneficial.

Enthusiasm or obsession?
Mozart was already playing the piano at the age of three. Studies have shown that music can have a positive effect on children before they are born, even if researchers disagree on how much exposure to music in early childhood is truly beneficial. In Germany, however, there are plenty of opportunities to find out. In Düsseldorf, for example, classical concerts are organized for parents and toddlers (www.bam-konzerte.de). A group in Munich even offers a program called Classical Music for Pre-Toddlers (www.babykonzert.de). Hamburg outdoes them all with concerts for pregnant women and parents with children aged one or younger (www.elbphilharmonie.de). The country’s family centers also offer a range of programs, including “music gardens” for babies. (www.ifem.info)

It’s been over 50 years …
… since the first national competition for young musicians was organized in Germany. The event, called Jugend musiziert (Young Music-Makers), celebrated a half-century of promoting music in 2013. That year 18,000 young people registered to take part. (www.jugend-musiziert.org)

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CONTINUE with “The Power of Music” – The World Is Full of Sound