Abstract

The study’s aims

Music education has become an integral part of the European and International concert scene. Staged concerts for children, workshop series with musicians and collaborations sponsored by educational institutions are well established forms in orchestras and concert halls. They signal the increasing ambition of arts administrators and cultural institutions to take responsibility for the musical education of children and adolescents.
The two foundations Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg and Robert Bosch Stiftung jointly initiated a study to collect and analyse the quality of music education offered by orchestras and concert organisers. The aim was to identify internationally comparable quality criteria and quality attributes and to develop recommendations to support education managers and music educators when reflecting about their work. The study also wanted to contribute to improving the quality of music education projects and the discussions about it.

Method

The assessment of the current state of music education in German speaking countries was based on the findings of Susanne Keuchel. We then conducted 40 guided interviews with selected education managers and music educators from orchestras and concert halls in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Great Britain, Luxemburg, France, Spain, Portugal and the USA. The questions mainly focused on the structural context of ensembles and concert halls, the professional background of education managers and the quality criteria that define their work. An expert conference half way through the study reflected on the insights gained and improved the systematic framework of the data. Based on the findings, five examples of best practice were selected and featured in a film documentary. Finally, the data collected were used to complete the study.

Summary of the results

Quality is not determined by a single parameter, but depends on structures, people and process. The quality of music education work depends on a number of factors such as the local organisational structure, the charisma and experience of education managers and music educators, the artistic qualities of ensembles and cultural workers, the attitude of cooperating partners and more. In the study, certain parameters that were directly relevant to, and influenced the work of, all interviewees, were identified. These parameters can be used as a framework to describe the quality of goal orientation, structure, conceptual process and product.

Goals in music education generally refer to creating a solid basis for educational and artistic work in orchestras and concert halls as well as the desire to affect the city or region and to approach new target groups.


These goals define the form music education takes (e.g. concerts for children or workshops in schools, youth centres or hospitals). The form can then be defined by the following three qualities:

- structural quality: gives information about in-house collaboration, funding, project management, audience development, evaluation and feedback as well as collaboration with cultural and educational institutions
- process quality: determines the artistic and educational concept and enables audience participation
- product quality: assesses the artistic and educational achievement and the degree of innovative and experimental content

The study also analyses the formal education and professional experience of education managers and music educators, the characteristics of the institutions they work in and the schemes currently prevalent in music education in Europe.

Recommendations

All conversations and interviews with experts and other participants conducted during the research demonstrate that support from management is the decisive factor when establishing music education projects in an institution. Education managers and music educators need to promote their work internally (to all staff of orchestras and concert halls) as well as externally (to the general public) to ensure that both stakeholder groups are kept well informed about the music education’s artistic ambitions and projects. Active support by management lends substance to the department’s concerns and goals. In most European countries, orchestras and concert organisers have recognised their special responsibility as new partners in cultural education to reach out to people who before would never have dreamed of setting foot inside a concert hall. In German speaking countries there is a need to meet the demand for participative projects for underprivileged demographic groups, including migrants and disabled people.


The development stage is the key to a successful project. Joint conceptual planning as equal partners with teachers, musicians and education managers ensures the effectiveness of the team for later project stages. Today educational projects are no longer ‘off-the-peg’ but instead tend to be tailored to meet the needs of the various partners involved.
Engaging with art also means entering new territory and being open to experimentation. The multi faceted programmes offered by orchestras and concert organisers today are characterised by schemes and approaches that have been tried and tested. Perhaps this study is a call to occasionally turn to more experimental approaches to sensitise children and adolescents to the power as well as the fragility of art.

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