The world's most family-friendly orchestra

Das Orchester, the monthly magazine for German musicians and management, has come out with a fascinating issue on how players and orchestras in the 21st century balance the needs of performance and childcare.

The place to play, if you have kids, is Stuttgart, where the state theatre offers all staff members a daycare centre for kids, open 0700 to 2000, and happy to upload your infants for units of an hour at a time while the harassed parent runs off to see to his or her hair, nails, strings, shopping or new best friend.

Stuttgart is probably the world leader in the family field, but Nuremburg, Zwickau and some parts of Berlin are not far behind. Daniel Barenboim has apparently set up a music kindergarten for allcomers that keeps the little blighters rehearsing while the parents relax.

The Mahler Chamber Orchestra, where most players are young-marrieds, some to each other, limits their playing requirement to 50 percent of all concerts, thus allowing them quality time with the next generation.

All very enlightened. When will we see the same in other countries?

The magazine cover

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    shows an expectant MCO violinist in a t-shirt proclaiming across her bump ‘There is a RockStar in here’.

    And here’s one I’ve found of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, touring with their children.  Ah, that’s the life…

    photo: Sydney Morning Herald

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  • If all orchestras were musician friendly, we would certainly have better and happier players everywhere.

    Why don’t you try to start such a movement?

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