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One German household in three has a musical instrument in the living room

But many sit there idle and do not get played, according to a new survey.

Only one in six households – 17.7 percent – has an active musician, and that’s down from 25.6% just four years ago. And the presence of instruments is also slightly in decline. The figure has dropped from 34.1 to 33.1 percent since 2008.

Read the data:

- in 17,7 Prozent der deutschen Haushalte spielten 2012 ein oder mehrere Mitglieder aktiv ein Instrument; 2008 betrug diese Zahl noch 25,6 Prozent;

- in 33,1 Prozent der Haushalte gab es 2012 ein Musikinstrument (2008: 34,1 Prozent);

- hingegen gab es in 76,4 Prozent der Haushalte mit drei Kindern und mehr 2012 ein Instrument (2008: 68,3 Prozent);

- 58,1 Prozent erlernten ein Instrument durch privaten Unterricht; 17,6 Prozent via Autodidaktik; 17,4 Prozent im Schulunterricht;

- 54 Prozent der noch Aktiven und 59 Prozent der Abbrecher erlernten zwischen sechs und elf Jahren ein Instrument;

- 46 Prozent hörten während der Schulzeit, aber nach der Grundschule auf, das Instrument zu spielen;

- 37,4 Prozent gaben an, kein Interesse mehr zu haben; 36,6 Prozent nannten keine Zeit als Grund;

- 42,6 Prozent der Aktiven und 38,0 Prozent der Abbrecher spielen beziehungsweise spielten ein Tasteninstrument; 32,1 Prozent der Aktiven und 21,2 Prozent der Abbrecher spielen oder spielten Gitarre/Bass;

- 2012 waren 38 Prozent der aktiv musizierenden Personen im Haushalt 30 bis 59 Jahre alt; 2008 lag diese Zahl bei 40 Prozent;

- auf die Frage “Würden Sie heute gern (wieder) ein Musikinstrument spielen?” antworteten 71 Prozent mit Nein und 29 Prozent mit Ja;

- die häufigste Antwort auf die Frage “Warum würden Sie gern ein Instrument spielen?” lautete: “aus Spaß”; die seltenste war: “um in einer Band zu spielen”;

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  1. It's That Steve Again (ITSA) says:

    Germany is still a large market. This article may be of interest: “Measuring the Global Market for Music Products”, in Music Trades magazine, December 2012.

    But the decline per your report is interesting. Mein gott. Iff zis keeps up, zer instruments will be chust for lookink at, und zey vill haff to post zer notice:

    Dies Machine is nicht fur gerfingerpoken und mittengrabben. Is easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitzensparken. is nicht fur gerwerken by das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseeren keepen hands in das pockets – relaxen und watch das blinken lights”.

    I first saw that notice in 1976, when my boss posted it above a German machine he had recently purchased. I came across it again circa 1992, and tried it on my German friend Karla, who appreciated my U.K. based humour (mostly from British radio comedy, but also Monty Python etc) but not at the chuckle level. But when I showed her this mangled German, she giggle uncontrollably, and the spell was broken from her humour-free post-war upbringing. She has indulged in quite a bit of word play in the years since, with nice bits of absurdity from time to time.

    My own mangled German accent (which usually gets Karla chuckling) was primarily influenced by Spike Milligan, and especially Peter Sellers.

    It’s probably not that well known that Peter Sellers was once a jazz musician, playing the drums, having learnt music from his father, who was an organist, was said to be good on guitar “and whatnot” (and claimed to have taught George Formby), and taught Sellers to play the banjo. in this 1974 Parkinson interview, Sellers is asked why he gave up music. He discusses this briefly, and relates a story about pianist Alan Clare.

    Sellers finishes the interview, in part 4, with an impersonation of George Formby. Also in part 4, Sellers says that “the only time that you’re really happy, is at the time that you’re doing it. Not when the film comes out, when you’re preparing for the film, but the moment you’re doing the take on the floor. But when you do it, and that moment comes out of you…” – i.e. the moment of creation, as Parkinson summarised it.

    • Peter - a different one from the other Peter says:

      It is a tremendous leap from German households and musical instruments to Peter Sellers on Parkinson. But many thanks for posting the link, it brought back many memories.

      • It's That Steve Again (ITSA) says:

        Peter (the same one that’s the different one from the other one),
        Indeed ’tis a stretch. But hey, where there’s a will there’s a way – or a lot of family infighting (you might have to think about that one – but not too long mind you…right, time’s up, keep moving…)

        • It's That Steve Again (ITSA) says:

          Mind you, the reason I quoted Sellers on happiness and the moment of creativity, is that I think pretty much everyone who has creative moments can relate to that.

          The ways in which people can express creative moments have increased significantly – exponentially perhaps – and this would be a factor in the decline of musical instruments in the household

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