Once a week, retired teacher Renate A. uses the music room at Nuremberg's Municipal Library to practise for her choir. She says it is like being back at school, but with the roles reversed.
I have been retired for around three years now. And ever since, I have come to the music room every Monday for two hours, always from 5 till 7 pm, which is when the library closes. Together with my friend and fellow choir member Brigitte, I practise for the choir in the Education Centre next door. Rehearsals there begin at 8 pm. It was Brigitte who introduced me to the music library. And I am really grateful to her, as it is a wonderful place for us both to study our choir pieces in greater depth.
Brigitte and I noticed that we found certain sections difficult to sing, so we decided to do some practice before the rehearsal proper begins. Using the common room at the Education Centre wasn't ideal, but then Brigitte told me about the music room at Nuremberg Municipal Library: “All you have to do is enroll there and they will give you the key.”
The entrance to the music room “Merian”, which is named after the natural scientist and artist Maria Sibylla Merian. | Photo (detail): © Stefanie Zobl
At first we both sang soprano in the choir, but then I began experimenting to find out which voice suits me best. I now sing tenor, which means that we can now practise the two parts. This is a real step forward for me, and something for which I have my visits to the music room in particular to thank.
Singing practice: Renate A. can focus entirely on her (inner) voice. | Photo (detail): © Stefanie Zobl
Singing in the choir is my way of taking advantage of the new freedom that retirement has given me. For me, singing is an experiment in self-discovery more than anything else. I no longer feel any need to achieve a particular level, I can practise at my own pace, and enjoy learning something new. It is a bit like being back at school, except that this time I am not the teacher but the pupil.
Browsing through North Bavaria's largest collection of music media | Photo (detail): © Stefanie Zobl
When I still had two young children, we would often go to the library together. They found it exciting, and enjoyed borrowing picture books or seeing a stage performance of a popular children's book. After that I stopped visiting the library for many years, and only began again when I discovered the music room. Incidentally, Brigitte takes greater advantage of the library's collection: she sings with the residents of a geriatric care home on a voluntary basis and gets the sheet music she needs for that here.
Renate uses the electric piano in the music room to find the right key for her choir pieces. | Photo (detail): © Stefanie Zobl
When we rehearse in the music room, we connect two Bluetooth speakers to our mobile phones. This means that we can use the library's WiFi network to listen to the pieces that Markus, our choirmaster, sends to all of us choir members by e-mail; each part is recorded individually. We use the electric piano in the music room to ensure that we sing in key. It takes quite a lot of work before we feel really familiar with a new piece, especially in terms of the rhythm. The additional rehearsals in the music library help us a lot to make progress and improve our singing.
The library also has some other pleasant advantages to offer: the building is home to a very nice café that is named after the writer Hermann Kesten. It is only accessible via the library. I like to go there from time to time.
On the music library's L2 level | Photo (detail): © Stefanie Zobl
Renate A. (born in 1954) was a teacher at a Special Needs Educational Centre. She retired in 2014. She is married and has two children, and recently became a grandmother for the first time.
The music library at Nuremberg Municipal Library is the largest music library in North Bavaria. Its collection comprises around 50,000 media, including 21,500 pieces of sheet music and 18,000 audio-visual media. The library specializes among other things in world music. A music room equipped with an electric piano is available, while another electric piano can be found in the middle of the music library for playing short passages. The library serves the entire metropolitan region.
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