Sharp fall reported in German music education

An authoritative survey shows that children who are not from university-educated, middle-class households are less likely to attend music lessons in German schools. In some schools, fewer than half the children receive music instruction. Read here (auf Deutsch).

Whatever became of the German concept of Bildung?

freiburg musikhochschule

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  • Also in Germany ‘modern, egalitarian society’ makes inroads into Bildung. It is the pop culture poisoning young minds, and suggesting that classical music is ‘elitist’ and ‘difficult’. But decadence has always accompanied civilization (see Arnold E. Hofstädter: ‘European decadence from Stonehenge onwards’, OUP 1978).

  • Attention half on the Davis Cup, I looked at the German article and could not see any evidence for this headline. Children from less-educated backgrounds have less access to arts education. Also children at grammar schools have much better chances of music lessons and cultural trips than children at other (secondary modern type) school.

  • Lost in translation? The article states that children from lower class backgrounds are less likely to get good arts education. It’s a bit of stating the (unfortunately) obvious.

  • There seems to be a misreading of the German. The study found that children of families where at least one parent has a college degree are 3.5 more likely to study music in school that families with no college degree. (74% vs. 33%) The article adds that this is also due to the way the German education system is organized. After 6th grade students are either sent to a “Gynmnasium” which trains students for college, or to the “Realschule” that gives them vocational training. The Gymnasium provide more opportunities for the students to study music. (There’s lots of other interesting info in the article, but I don’t have time to read it at the moment.)

  • Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache!
    In addition to what William Osborne wrote, you seem to have gotten mixed up further with the statement that “children from university-educated, middle-class households are less likely to attend music lessons in German schools. In some schools, fewer than half the children receive music instruction.”
    The article never talks about music lessons per se. 33% of the students they questioned were under the impression that (fine)art classes were cancelled with higher frequency (“more than seldom” & “frequently”) than other classes throughout the school year. 17% had no art classes at all, resulting in roughly 50% of questioned students not having regular art classes; 49% not having regular music classes.
    I find that a change of the thread’s title and introduction are in order, after a rereading of the article.
    As for the “German schools” and the “German concept…”, a survey conducted with 532 9th and 10th grade at German schools, is hardly conclusive for the country as a whole.

    • A side-note:
      Kunstunterricht = (Fine/Creative) Arts Class
      Musikunterricht = Music Class
      The two, “Kunstunterricht” and “Musikunterricht” are not interchangeable.

    • The last sentence of my first post should have read:
      “As for the “German schools” and the “German concept…”, a survey conducted with 532 9th and 10th grade students at German schools, is hardly conclusive for the country as a whole.
      Englische Sprache, auch schwere Sprache….

      • The article also reminds me of some article in a German magazine which described an educative project with contemporary music, i.e. sound art, which was introduced at the first grades, with the aim to create something of an informed audience later-on. Such projects should be replaced by classical music education projects of course; children exposed to that type of thing will be prejudiced against serious music ever after.

        Holger Noltze wrote an informative book about the mistake to ‘sell’ classical music to youngsters as something being ‘nice’ and ‘hip’: ‘Die Leichtigkeitslüge’.

  • Quite a few years ago, Kent Nagano gave a big interview in the German newspaper “Die Zeit”, stressing the importance of teaching music in schools, for
    in general and for all ages.
    Unfortunately we have to read this. When I see hundreds of young girls and some boys, crying and shouting their heads of at some bands in huge stadiums, I feel sick. That was in Beatles’ time and now again.
    Where are music teachers which make classical music understandable and exciting for young people. Where is there a “Dead composer’s society”
    Too rare.
    So it all depends on the parents, on their education and the will to widen their
    children’s horizons.

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