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History of Music Education Timeline

  • 500 BCE

    Athens offers music education

    Athens offers music education
    The Greeks valued a life rich with culture, intellect, and athleticism.
  • 500 BCE

    Boethius writes "De Institutione Musica"

    Boethius writes "De Institutione Musica"
    De Insitutione Musica preserved Greek music theory and was influential enough that it was used by Oxford University professors until the nineteenth century.
  • 900

    St. Odo of Cluny develops early notation

    St. Odo of Cluny develops early notation
    Odo presented a use of letters to represent musical pitches from A-G.
  • 1020

    Guido d'Arezzo Expands Upon Odo's Work

    d'Arezzo invents another method for teaching notation using the first beginning tones from each of the first phrases of "Ut queant laxis" (Hymn to St. John) - most critically, the half step between Mi and Fa.
  • 1517

    The Protestant Reformation

    Martin Luther saw the importance of music and included it in the curriculum of the schools established under the influence of his religious teachings.
  • 1523

    Spanish Conquistadors in Mexico

    Spanish Conquistadors in Mexico
    Hernando Cortez, and eventually Francisco Coronado (1540) brought music teachers newly-conquered Mexico to help convert the natives via music education (reading writing, instruments, Franco-Flemish manuscripts, instrument construction).
  • The Pilgrims arrive in the New World

    Bringing the Book of Psalms by Reverend Henry Ainsworth written in 1612. This would be the original psalm book of the Plymouth Colony until 1692.
  • The Puritans Arrive

  • The Massachusetts School of Law of 1648

    Essentially - without including any of the excessive dialogue - the laws left out music, intending on it being taught privately in singing schools.
  • French Religious Success with the Iroqouis.

    Music instruction between the French and the natives was so successful that the Iroquois received papal permission to celebrate their services, including the mass, in their native language rather than in Latin.
  • Reverend John Tufts writes "An Introduction to the Singing of Psalm-Tunes

    A leader in the movement to end music illiteracy, this was the first American textbook focused on improving music ability.
  • William Penn Arrives

    William Penn Arrives
    Of the 100,000 Anglicans, Catholics, Lutherans, Mennonites, Moravians, Pietists, and Quakers living in Penn's new colony, many brought the music of Europe with them and prioritized it in schools.
  • Lowell Mason completes "The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music"

    This compilation of familiar hymns was the basis for his opening of The Boston Academy of Music
  • Period: to

    Vocal music programs are established.

    The decade from 1830 - 1840 saw a meteoric rise in the establishment of vocal music programs in American schools.
  • William Channing Woodbridge delivers his legendary speech

    "On Vocal Music as a Branch of Common Education" was used as a reference and literary milestone in American music education throughout history as it made the case for curricular music.
  • The Boston Academy of Music opens

    The first music school of its kind, it immediately attracted so many students that additional staffing was required. One of its objectives was the introduction of "vocal music into schools, by the aid of such teachers as the Academy may be able to employ, each of whom shall instruct classes alternately in a number of schools"
  • Music approved for the first time in the public schools of Boston

    The Boston School Committee approves the motion to allow the Committee on Music to employ a teacher of vocal music in the public schools of Boston for the first time as an integral curricular subject.
  • Horace Mann is the first president of AAAE

    The American Association for the Advancement of Education, one of the organizations that became the NEA.
  • Theodore Thomas Orchestra

    Responsible for most Americans' first exposure to a good orchestra playing the finest orchestral literature
  • Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965

    Authorized $1.3bn to be funneled into classrooms around the nation. Music education received funding. "An ACT to strengthen and improve the quality and education opportunities in the nation's elementary and secondary schools."
  • Eben Tourjee forms the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)

    The first permanent association of musicians in the US, it was a result of a convention in Delaware featuring teachers from Ohio and Indiana.
  • NEA is formed

    NEA is formed
    Formed from the National Association of School Superintendents and the American Normal School Association.
  • Austin A. Harding establishes the Department of Bands at Illinois

    This was what became the framework for the nation to establish marching band programs.
  • Carl E. Seashore's "Measures of Musical Talents" is released

    This lead to about 70 years of strong interest in aptitude tests, for better or worse.
  • NAESP is founded

    National Association of Elementary School Principals.
  • Carl Orff establishes the Gunther Schule

    Carl Orff establishes the Gunther Schule
  • Joseph Maddy forms the first National High School Orchestra

    Consisted of 236 students from 30 states.
  • Walter Damrosch introduces millions of school children to classical music

    He broadcasted In the Hall of the Mountain King, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Omphale's Spinning Wheel, and The Flying Dutchman.
  • Elizabeth Beach gives a series of Christmas carol festivals on CBS Radio Network

    This lead to a massive increase in choral enrollment
  • MSNC changes name to "Music Educators National Conference"

  • MENC publishes The 1940 Constitution: "Outline of a Program for Music Education"

    Singing, rhythmics, listening, playing, and creating were recommended for elementary school. While updated in 1951, this was used for many years as an outline and a model for school systems by which music programs could be measured.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    The decision lead to more cultures, including jazz, to be introduced into the curriculum.
  • Soviet Union Launches Sputnik I

    Soviet Union Launches Sputnik I
    A sense of urgency overcame the American public to prioritize the sciences and support for the arts came at an expense of this.
  • Woods Hole Conference

    Educators, physicists, historians, biologists, mathematicians, etc, gathered to propose ideas for improving education nationally, one of the first of its kind.
  • National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities is founded

  • Tanglewood is founded

    Tanglewood is founded
    Music educators agreed on 8 principles ranging from integrity to curriculum. All music has a place in the curriculum.
  • Edwin Gordon authors "Musical Aptitude Profile"

  • Organization of American Kodaly Educators is founded

  • NEA becomes more involved with music education

    Throughout its history, the NEA has spent more than $260m on the arts.
  • MENC creates the Nationa. Commission on Music Eduation