College president: After Covid, there will be fewer musicians

College president: After Covid, there will be fewer musicians


norman lebrecht

November 16, 2020

Susanne Rode-Breymann, president of the Hannover University of Music, says that fewer young people will apply to study music in the years ahead due to the discouragements of Covid-19. She insists there is no fall in registrations for 2021, but she expects one soon after.

Read here.


  • Greg Bottini says:


    Brilliant. Absolutely BRILLIANT.

    After Covid, there will be fewer PEOPLE.

    • Bright Side says:

      Fewer liberals about is certainly a plus.

      • David says:

        I’ve been doing “November gratitude” and listing things I am grateful for. For today, I am grateful that I’m not you.

        • Blessings... says:

          Happy Thanksgiving David!

          So good to see a fellow Christian on this site for a change.

          Remember, we’re ALL God’s children, especially children like you.

      • Occamsrazor says:

        Bright Side, many times after a few drinks I’ve seen musicians coming unglued and whining about not having what it takes to be a “real musician”. After I asked why they chose to go to a conservatory they would either say that they love music or look at me like I was retarded and say: ”what, do you wanna wake up in the morning and go to work every day from 9 to 5?” Most are so dumb they think classical music is a sinecure. Those whose reason for becoming musicians is love for music are not much smarter than the sinecure kind. It’s obvious to any gym rat that they lack what it takes to be pro athletes and it doesn’t bother them one bit, they enjoy the countless benefits of amateur sports. But these music lovers flood conservatories by millions, destroy their chances of having meaningful lives because the system is a Ponzi scheme which is ending only now when the music is stopping for the entire paradigm.

      • Greg Bottini says:

        Well, “Bright Side”, you’ve got at least the next four years to beat your head against the wall.

  • IntBaritone says:

    This is probably for the best. There were already far too many music students flooding the market and making jobs both less valuable and more competitive (scarce).

    After the pandemic, there will be even fewer jobs, requiring even fewer musicians, and enrolling the same amount of young aspiring artists would be entirely irresponsible. It already is – most universities take the money of students they know will never make it to pay for the 1 or 2 per year that might. Pretty terrible and it will only get worse if things remain unchanged.

    So, as I said above – it’s probably for the best.

    • Mick the Knife says:

      I understand. A music degree didn’t give you a job and now you are in the vast pit of “IT professionals”. But that won’t be the fate for all music graduates.

      • IntBaritone says:

        Yeah… not quite, Mick. I was a professional opera singer at top houses for the better part of 2 decades. I’m one of the lucky few. But, over that time I saw fees drop, demands on singers increase, and overall morale in the industry decline. What was once 2 months to be paid in Italy at times became 2 years (or never, in some cases). Returns to houses rarely saw fee increases as the years rolled on. Everyone felt the pinch (I suppose you think major managers closing is just a COVID issue, hahaha). My colleagues at a major house in NYC saw their per performance fees go to pro-rated per contract lump sums (significant decrease). Concert opportunities were still good, but no one goes anymore. New singers graduated EVERY year, and yet a small portion of them ever made it on stage with me. They never had a chance. I bet if you did a survey of all 2-years-out-of-school singers in the world, maybe 1 out of 500 would make enough to support him or herself. I was lucky to be one, but it stopped being fun after a few years, seeing how the industry was dying. And yet we trucked on – for the good of the art. Really glad I have moved on from the life on the road because I’m not interested in providing world-class music to ignoramuses like you.

        Regardless, the music world is dying. If you don’t understand that, you’re not paying attention. Fewer people should become musicians. That’s just supply and demand. Maybe, if you get out from behind your computer screen and go get some people to go to the opera that wouldn’t be the case – but being a troll on the internet is simply easier, I suppose, Mick.

        Best of luck to you – enjoy the internet trolling – and I hope you get to move out of your mom’s basement sometime soon.

        • Marge O. says:

          what was a “troll” an US-ian truth teller? a person with integrity and honor? or the usual allergy to reality=americans

        • Walter P, Ford says:

          What is your perspective on the so-called “college educated” graduates of the last 10 and 20 years?

          I’m curious because one used to have actual status as a college or university graduate. It used to mean one was somewhat well-rounded and most likely to be interested in and hopefully support one or more branches of the arts. The higher the level of academic prowess, the correlation of both IQ and arts appreciation used to generally synchronize.

          All the last 10-15 years of grads most of us have seen merely yielded hypersensitive children in need of “safe spaces” who couldn’t find entry level jobs and boomeranged back home to their helicopter parents and stuck in SL debt. They mostly seem entitled or self-absorbed but more disturbingly emotionally weak. Many are now stuck in academia getting their masters or doctorate and taking endless master and special certification courses as they work at Starbucks or some retail job not aligned with their degree.

          I’ve seen this scenario play out with a lot of newly minted grads and understand what they have faced. However, they don’t appreciate the arts so far as pop or rap music which bears out in the dying elder audience you are used to.

          What do you think these bastions of education have missed in their shaping of generations? What have they done well with? I’m interested because the immense beauty of opera is constantly being degraded and abandoned. The youth of today have been rioting in black outfits creating trouble instead of using their education to ameliorate challenges on multiple levels by using their intellect. not through violence.

          The younger people don’t have the grit and stamina to make something grow and be productive as my generation did. We had dignity, respect for the law and a sense of responsibility to both our elders and the children we chose to bring into the world and raise between 2 parents along with pride in our country.

          What do you think these newer generations need to make them feel the respect we were raised with?

          Thanks for any commentary you may provide.

        • Mick the Knife says:

          You are bitter and should refrain from giving advice. Based on what you are writing, I respect your experience but I’ve had comparable experience as an orchestral musician and in another field that is at least as competitive. Caracas line both fields, but I found a way to succeed in both. I’m not a genius or super talented so I believe others can too. I believe we are just different people; you became bitter and think everyone will fail, like you (not saying you have but obviously how you view yourself). I see that roads to success will open up for many. Its never easy, but I don’t dwell on the many disappointments along the way. There is opportunity out there, but not for everyone, for those who study music. Its an elite field. So, the safety net now is IT though I know several “failed” music students who have elite jobs in law. None of them are bitter about having taken their shot at music.

    • SVM says:

      I do not understand why there is so much negativity about people studying music for its own sake. I reject IntBaritone’s claim that it would be “entirely irresponsible” to have more people studying for a music degree than there is capacity for them to make a professional career solely or primarily in music.

      I know plenty of people with music degrees who enjoy thriving careers in other fields or in what might be termed ‘support’/auxiliary/admin roles in music. Why deny them the oblectation of focussing on music for a few years at a high level?

      I also know some people without music degrees who have managed to become professional musicians nevertheless (usually, they have undertaken serious private study and practice).

      And even if the above were not the case, do we want a situation where admissions officers for university/conservatoire music departments become gatekeepers to the profession? Speaking as someone who works in academia (as part of my ‘portfolio’ career in music) and has been involved with auditions (primarily as an accompanist), I suspect that most admissions officers would not want such a terrifying responsibility (serving as a gatekeeper to a given course/programme of study is responsibility enough), and those who did want it are not the sort of people we would want in charge of the profession. Trying to predict who has potential to well and truly ‘make it’ in music in the long-term is never an exact science. In my experience of accompanying auditions for admission to undergraduate study, I find most candidates to be too musically or technically immature to enable me to make a truly reliable prediction of future performance potential (this applies especially to singers, whose voices will typically require another decade of careful development). Surely, it is better to admit “too many” students and let them figure-out, with the benefit of having experienced intense focus on music at a high level for a few years, whether a music career is the right path for them.

  • Andreas B. says:

    The pictured hall 9 of Hannover Messe (Hannover trade fair) has no connection to the Musikhochschule.

    Its actual main building is quite interestingly shaped like a human ear.
    There is also a remarkable colour scheme throughout the building with pink carpets and purple doors.

    Also part of the Musikhochschule is the historic Villa Seligman which houses the European Centre for Jewish Music.

  • fflambeau says:

    Well, there’s likely to be a drop in many arts and social studies departments too. It is a continuation of a trend towards business, medicine and the sciences. I doubt Covid has much to do with it long-term. Most schools of music already encourage students to have joint degrees.

  • IP says:

    Who knows, there might be a return to music making at home. Play Bach on a clavichord or Schubert on a piano rather than rely on Lang Lang to open the world of music to you.

    • Craig says:

      Wouldn’t that be nice? But I’m afraid it’s not woven into American culture like that. We all learn math, science, and many other disciplines as it’s thought everyone needs a foundational knowledge. The arts haven’t been included in that thought for a long time. And I fear COVID will push it even further away.

  • anon says:

    In Europe, because of state subsidies, it’d still be possible to eke out a living from classical music.

    In America, you’ll need one other talent, like driving uber…

  • Marge O. says:

    Fewer BS jobs for academic do nothings/do littles to sell the dream to dreamers. Money= Students (dupes, suckers, idealists)

  • Marge O. says:

    us con-servatories are “great”. It’s yet another example of the america hustler/huckster mentality.

  • Occamsrazor says:

    Some of the deepest understanding of piano art I’ve encountered was shown to me by 3 friends of mine who are classical guitarists, I ran through my programs for them back in my conservatory days and discussed piano history with them. Being an amateur in the true sense is the highest of compliments. The majority of today’s classical musicians have zero love for classical, they listen to the emptiest, cheapest pop while driving etc. Those that come from Russia were brought to music schools as babies by their rabidly insane parents. By the age of 14 most of them chain smoke and can drink a sailor under the table. As long as there is lack of real values and culture conservatories will exist. The same goes for those tiny baby gymnasts who are taught to chain smoke and drink plus being forced to take puberty-stopping drugs so they never grow tall.