A project of ISME’s History Standing Committee
Guido d’Arezzo
Guidonian Hand
ISME Website History Standing Committee IHME Homepage GERMANY - Historical Overview   An Overview of Music Education in Germany (Part 2)  by Alexander J. Cvetko English translation by Bernd Clausen   Following on from the work of Zelter and Kretzschmar, there were several prominent figures in German musical education such as Ernst Julius Hentschel (1804–1875), Georg Rolle (1855–1934), Fritz Jöde (1887–1970), and especially Leo Kestenberg (1882–1962) (whose reforms laid the foundations for German music education today). The efforts of these music educators helped to shape German music education during the last years of the German Empire and – more specifically – during the Weimar Republic. Important steps before and during the Kestenberg reforms centred around multiple educational reforms at the turn of the century which focused on child development and the arts. The symposiums of the Kunsterziehungstage (arts-education-movement), the Music Educational Congresses and the International Congress on Music Education (1913) together with the impulses from the German boarding-school-movement, represented most notably by Hermann Lietz (1868–1919) and the elementary music pedagogy by Carl Orff (1895–1982), were some of the influences on the development of German music education at the beginning of the twentieth century. The loss of the First World War (1914–1918) was a decisive factor which led to a resurance of music education in the supposed Land of Music with its legacy of famous German composers and cultural heritage. These matters were eagerly discussed on many congresses on music education and other occasions such as the Reichschulmusikwoche. Important for the reforms in the mid-1920s were the substitution of singing lessons in favour of music lessons, as well as interdisciplinary teaching as the mainstay of the reforms. After the end of the Weimar Republic, music education became aligned with the National Socialist movement during the so-called Third Reich which followed on from the ideas of the German Youth movement with music education being predominantly collective singing and at the same time reflecting the ideas and structures of the Kestenberg reform. Being a Jew, Kestenberg emigrated to Prague in 1933, where he headed the predecessor of the International Society for Music Education and continued his work outside Nazi-Germany by promoting an international view of music education. The Nazis utilised music education to serve as part of their fascist ideology. From this turn of the century, singing had been a significant aspect of the German Youth Movement and was continued by the Nazi regime and politicized with a crude and racist ideology.   After the Second World War, music education in German schools focused mainly on the holistic interpretation of music (musische Erziehung) which was grounded in the Greek notion of musiké. The year 1953 marks a number of significant turning points for the Federal Republic of Germany or West-Germany as it was generally known. On the one hand there was the founding of the German Music Council and then the International Society of Music Education (ISME), founded by the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States and Canada during an international conference sponsored by UNESCO in Brussels. On the other hand, there was strong criticism of music education by the German philosopher and composer Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno (1903–1969). He condemned collective singing because of its ideological susceptibility and argued that this thoughtless musical activity had led to the catastrophic twelve years of Nazi Germany. His harsh and sometimes punitive criticisms aimed at a generation of German music educators who were active in both the Weimar Republic and during the years between 1933 and 1945. These criticisms were reviews after the twelve years of the Nazi regime, seemingly without any reevaluation., Singing and music-making were perceived as the core of music education which led not only to a fierce debate, but also steered German music education into a total rethink of its values, aims and objectives. The shock of the Sputnik launch in 1957 served as a stimulus for re-evaluation in the era of the Cold War. Georg Picht's expression of the Bildungskatastrophe (German Educational Catastrophe) in 1964 and Theodor Wilhelm’s Theory of the School (1967) argued for a phasing-out of singing in favour of a more science-oriented music education. One consequence was the focus put on the importance of artwork (Orientierung am Kunstwerk) in music teaching as advocated by Michael Alt (1905–1973). He emphasized this viewpoint in his 1968 book and his ideas can still be found in school teaching today. Technical innovations such as tape recorders, LP records and audio cassettes also had an impact. In addition, the young people's perceptions of music led to a change in what was the narrow focus of school music and challenged music educators by taking into account beat, rock and pop music. While the German Democratic Republic had a tendency to base music education on the ideas of the Kestenberg reforms, these contemporary factors led to music educators to be challenged by a curriculum based on singing (alongside musical and musical basic knowledge) as its roots were in the socialist idiology of Kestenberg and the Third Reich. After German reunification in 1990, music education in the new Federal Republic of Germany was characterized by an intensive exchange of viewpoints that were not without controversy.  The history of music education over the last five decades is often as a series of different educational approaches (orientation on the artwork, didactic interpretation, auditory perception, musical-aesthetic education, constructive music education etc.), but none of them predominated. On the contrary, these approaches have many similarities which tend to lemphasise the differences in the modes of the thoughts underlying these approaches. The diversity of methods and approaches has generally been welcomed. Moreover, many new ideas of the present have proved not to be mere novelties, but to be useful reinventions drawn from historical practice and from research findings. Since the 1970s, German music education has been re-established as a scientific discipline. The leading figures have included Michael Alt and especially Sigrid Abel-Struth (1924–1987) who laid the foundations for an empirical music education research. There has been an emergence of systematic music education researchand the publication of resource collections at a national level and in common with other disciplines, music education has acquired legitimation though empirical research, albeit that this has only become rapidly apparent in the last fifteen years or so. Since the turn of the twentieth century, there has been one further shock after that of 1957 -- namely that of  PISA  (2001/2002) --through which a more scientific orientation as well as the return to an “artwork” approach to music teaching has gained in importance. A more recent development in research-based and practice-oriented music education has been the focus on competency acquisition, which is, however, often unjustifiably viewed in negatively light. German music educatiol research has been strengthened by projects such as JeKi (Jedem Kind ein Instrument; an instrument for every child). Until the release of this program, financed by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research in 2008/9, third-party funding of music education research was rather scarce. Since then, research in music education that combines mixed methods approaches with a clear focus on the examination of the recent conditions and the possibilities for further enhancement of music in schools has became more common, albeit within the constraints of financial support and relevant research questions. Interest in dissertation research in the field of music education has risen significantly. During the 1970s, the focus was on systematic or philosophical : now hoewever, the empirical questions seem to be more popular. The Study Group for Music Educational Research located, founded 1971, has assumed a central role in the exchange of research findings both nationally and internationally.   Bibliography  Braun, G. (1957). Die Schulmusikerziehung in Preußen. 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