From the Beginning, Throughout Life: We are committed to continuous and qualified music education for everyone - because education is the future.
Ensuring a comprehensive, holistic education for everyone, especially children and young people, regardless of their cultural or educational background, must be the goal of an inclusive and sustainable society. Education policy therefore has a special responsibility to provide young people with access to their creative potential and to cultural participation in their educational settings.
The German Music Council's commitment to music education is a cross-sectional task and contributes to making our society fit for the future. Raising awareness of the importance of music education and implementing appropriate consequences in political action is therefore at the heart of the German Music Council’s music policy activities. At the same time, the funding priorities of many of the DMR gGmbH's projects are committed to the ideal of lifelong musical learning, from the German Youth Orchestra, German Jazz Orchestra, and German Youth Choir to the PopCamp, Conducting Forum, and the competitions sponsored by the German Music Council.
The disastrous situation of music education in schools and its problematic future prospects, as documented in the study "Music Education in Elementary Schools," were drastically worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic: through massive lesson cancellations, the shift to digital formats, and a stigmatization of singing together, to name only a few examples. With the initiative “#SchuleNeuDenken” (#ReThinkSchool), the German Music Council seeks to initiate a fundamental rethinking: in the future, music and other artistic subjects must be a central element in the individual development of adolescents and their participation in the cultural processes of understanding and negotiation. Only on the basis of solid knowledge and rich experience can adolescents appreciate the diversity and existential dimension of music as a human cultural heritage and as an individual and social enrichment. Moreover, music education can contribute significantly to the interdisciplinary networking of different sciences, disciplines, and areas of society.
The Federal Expert Committee on Education developed the statement #ReThinkSchool: More Music!, which was adopted by the Executive Committee of the German Music Council in March 2023. In it, comprehensive measures to improve the situation are formulated and demanded in five core areas of music education:
In order to lay the foundation for a good musical education in the pre-school sector, for example in daycare centers, educators must also receive a professionally appropriate musical qualification in their training.
The potential and impact of artistic school subjects must be given greater consideration.
a. The number of hours allocated to artistic subjects must be increased, and more capacity must be allocated to music-related school groups and music performance courses in grammar schools. Two hours of music lessons and basic and advanced courses relevant to the Abitur must be offered consistently every week.
b. Continuous and qualified music lessons must be guaranteed by a significant increase in the number of music teachers in all types of schools.
Cooperation between the formal, non-formal, and informal education sectors must be strengthened. To this end, an appropriate legal, administrative, and regulatory basis must be created so that educational activities do not necessarily have to be restricted to a single institution, but can also take place in cooperation with local music schools, for example. Cooperation between music schools and general education schools must be intensified.
Universities, pedagogical colleges, and music colleges must be adequately equipped to provide training in line with demand. To this end, artistic and pedagogical courses of study and research departments must be expanded.
Best practice examples in the field of music education should be promoted and made visible. In addition, there is a need for continuous monitoring of all areas of music education with their needs and deficits: from daycare centers to adult education.
In March 2020, the German Music Council, the Conference of State Music Councils, and the Bertelsmann Foundation published the jointly initiated study "Music Instruction in Elementary Schools - Current Situation and Perspectives". For the first time, deficits in music education can not only be vaguely named, but precisely presented on a valid research basis. In this way, the public discussion about this important topic can be intensified. It is important to strengthen social awareness of the indispensability of continuous and qualified musical education for a holistic human education and to consider together how this goal can be achieved within a manageable time frame.
In the course of the symposium #MehrMusikInDerSchule (#MoreMusicInSchools) on 09 October 2020, which dealt with the results of the study "Musikunterricht in der Grundschule" (Music Teaching in Elementary Schools), concrete recommendations for action were developed.