Minor Music
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Lowell Mason

Mason, Lowell. [Photograph]. In Encyclopedia Britannica Online Library Edition. Retrieved from http://library.eb.com/eb/art-99599

The beginnings of American music education rests with one man and a generally accepted truth.

In the late 1830s, an accomplished composer and music publisher, named Lowell Mason, made a compelling case to the local public school committee. It had long been established that the quality of singing in American churches was at that time (how shall we put it?) … not good. It would appear that in their quest for various freedoms, American settlers may have wandered a bit too far from the hub of European culture.

So, in an effort to improve American’s musical abilities (in particular, those participating in various places of worship), Lowell and members of the Boston School Committee, decided that children needed to be formally taught how to read and perform music. From that point on, music would be a part of the public school curriculum. Admittedly, along with that momentous decision came a swarm of controversy, logistic entanglements and legal battles that exist to this day. Nonetheless, the integration of music education in American public schools is a fascinating story.

For anyone looking for the quintessential read on the subject, we recommend
History Of Public School Music In The United States by Edward Bailey Birge.

And for anyone interested in learning more about Lowell Mason’s legacy, you should also check out this website by the non-profit Lowell Mason Foundation.

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