Lowell Mason
The Father of Music Education in America
C    O    L    L    E    G    E

Music 314
Foundations & Principles of Music Education

Dr. Peter LaRue, Instructor

Handout - Talking Points #8

(A Brief Overview)

Evidence from ancient artifacts and from all contemporary cultures underlines the point that making music is a regular pastime of man, and probably one of his earliest accomplishments.

In primitive societies music fulfills a basic function as an accessible agent of tribal tradition, aesthetic meaning and personal expression in which all participate.

Evidence exists that the original structure of Greek education was built on music and gymnastics, although music and poetry were considered one art. Music was for the soul, while gymnastics were prescribed for the body. Characteristic instruments of the Greeks were the lyre and the cithara (string) and the aulos (oboe‑like). The Greeks felt that there is a form of education in which the students (boys) should be trained, not because it is useful or necessary, but as being liberal and noble.....the point is proved by music.

Middle Ages
.....6th century Boethius prepared five texts (De Musica ) and these along with ancient manuscripts provided the point of reference for the music curriculum in the cathedral and monastery schools. At this time, music was studied as a pure science, not requiring any understanding or skill in performance areas. Rise of the troubadours and trouveres was a manifestation of the power of secular trend in music.

.....With the rise of Protestantism, the necessity for universal music education became more evident. Luther and Calvin supported the idea of vernacular schools that would enable the common people to interpret scriptures and become good citizens.

Early America.....Music for use in religious ceremonies, the Bay Song Book (1640). In 1712, John Tufts published the first practical instruction book in singing. Organization of "Singing Schools" in New England about 1720 strived to improve the quality of musical performance. Masters of these schools included William Billings, Lowell Mason and Francis Hopkins. For a century these schools were the primary institutions for music training  for the average citizen. Music education was first introduced into the standard curriculum at Hawes School in Boston in 1838 (Lowell Mason) Sacred Harp

.....The expansion of the country, with increased communication capabilities, allowed touring concert groups to perform in many towns and communities [Ole Bull, Jenny Lind, Theodore Thomas, Gilmore, Reeves, Conway and Sousa] First college level music.....the Boston Academy in 1832, Oberlin in 1835. In 1876 Music Teachers National Convention was formed. Rise of "pragmatism" as espoused by Charles Pierce, William James and John Dewey. Pragmatism is based upon the belief that knowledge is used to guide behavior, its truth is established only by testing  it in action. First school bands were developed in the years preceding WWI. Development of contests in the mid‑1920's further fostered music in the public schools.

Current Trends.....Suzuki, Kodaly, Orff, Dalcroze - KERATechnological Gains and Advances.....Computers, Synthesizers, Audio/Video Recording

In Kentucky.....KERA and Block Scheduling