Amateur Music Making
Fuel for Musical Education and Cultural Diversity: Amateur music making in Germany brings people together - regardless of age, place of residence, or social background.
More than 14 million people - and thus 19 % of the population over the age of six - make music in their free time. Amateur music, as the largest cultural sector in German civil society, brings cultural diversity to the people, promotes participation, and forges links between generations and different social realities. The German Music Council is committed to ensuring that this remains the case.
A milestone in the commitment to amateur music: at the suggestion of the German Music Council and in close cooperation with the Federal Association of German Orchestra Associations (BDO), amateur instrumental music making was included in the Federal Register of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2016.
The 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage promotes the visibility and further development of the living heritage, for example through the international UNESCO lists or through entries in the Federal Register of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Germany. Germany acceded to the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. The Federal Register of the Intangible Cultural Heritage provides examples of the various living cultural traditions and forms of expression that are practiced and passed on in Germany. It recognizes creative and inclusive intangible cultural forms and their rich treasure of experiential knowledge.
In the topic portal Amateur Music Making, the Music Information Center (miz), an institution of the German Music Council, explores the different spheres of amateur music. Specialist articles deal with, for example, community music or music in old age, and a practical journal sheds light on the wide range of initiatives in amateur music, confirming its enormous cultural diversity. News about amateur music making can be found under "News”; “Ideas and Analysis" offers position papers, studies, research results, and statistics on the topic. Individual personalities and institutions specializing in amateur music are presented and dates for further training, competitions, and professional exchange are made available. A study published by the miz, was also of fundamental importance, documenting for the first time the dimensions of amateur music with valid statistical data.
This representative survey of the population aged 6 and over was conducted by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research on behalf of the miz in November and December 2020. The study offers a differentiated overview of age groups, class-specific or regional differences, and of the ways in which musicians have come into closer contact with music.
With its support projects, the German Music Council sets strong accents for the promotion of amateur music. In particular, the German Choir Competition and the German Orchestra Competition provide amateur ensembles with motivating incentives for their rehearsal work and the opportunity for human and musical encounters. Since its founding in 1963, Jugend musiziert has also made a significant contribution to promoting a flourishing amateur music scene. Last but not least, the Landmusik funding program, which expired at the end of 2022 and was implemented by the German Music Council with funding from the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media, promoted networking between amateur musicians and the professional music scene in rural areas.