According to the most recent statistics of the Association of German Music Schools (VdM), more than 1.4 million people were enrolled at a public music school. The data of the VdM statistics 2021 refer to the entire calendar year 2020 and thus reflect the situation in the first year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the public music schools recorded a decrease of almost 77,000 pupils.
The most represented groups were pre-school children under 6 years of age (15.4 %), primary school children aged 6 to 9 years (the largest group at 31.9 %) and 10 to 14 year olds (25.1 %). About one tenth of the pupils were teens aged 15 to 18.
The number of pupils has been declining recently, especially among younger children. These are the age groups that were most of all unable to participate group offers under the statewide Corona protection measures and for whom digital alternatives are not effective due to their age. In absolute terms, in 2020 there were almost 460,000 6 to 9 year olds who took part in the extracurricular musical education programmes of the public music schools - almost 34,000 fewer than in the previous calendar year. Also at pre-school age, significantly fewer children were reached in 2020 (221,000 pupils, a decrease of almost 36,000). In the other age groups, the number of pupils remained more or less constant in the first pandemic year.
In the years before the pandemic, the number of pupils of pre-school and primary school age still experienced the most significant increases. For children aged 10 and 14, on the other hand, it has remained fairly stable since 2014, at just under 370,000 annually. The number of teenagers (15 to 18 years old) decreased slightly since 2014 to approx. 138,000 most recently.
When they reach adulthood, significantly fewer people decide to take advantage of the music schools' offers. Most recently, there were around 40,000 young adults up to the age of 25, more than 80,000 26- to 60-year-olds and about 34,000 over 60-year-olds. Older people in particular, however, are increasingly turning to active music-making. The number of music school pupils over 60 was 18,740 in 2014 and has grown by almost 80 percent since then.
The data is based on an annual full survey of the Association of German Music Schools (VdM) among its member schools; most recently these were 933 public music schools. Figures up to and including the year 2013 are taken from 1 January of the year concerned; those after 2014 are based on a full calendar year (1 January to 31 December of the preceding year). This change of methodology has a significant impact on the number of students, for the later figures also include pupils enrolled in projects or other courses of limited duration as well as those who dropped out during the year and were thus previously excluded from statistics based on the 1 January reference day.
- The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is captured for the first time in the VdM annual report 2021: The data reflect number of enrolments of the preceding calendar year 2020, cf. note.
- Excl. enrolments in multiple subjects.
- Excluded are 12 music schools in Berlin that were not member of the VdM at the time of data collection and evaluation in 2003, comprising 37,839 pupils in total.
- As of 2014, a new methodology of data collection has been applied. See note.
- Number of VdM member music schools on 1 January of the subsequent year.
Compiled and calculated by the German Music Information Centre from VdM-Jahresbericht 2021, ed. Association of German Music Schools (VdM), 2022, and various issues of Statistisches Jahrbuch der Musikschulen in Deutschland, published annually by the VdM.