Music education has evolved into a critical part of the curriculum in American schools. Though in the early developmental stages of the United States, there was hardly any time for music. As a result the need for music education was at an all-time low. However, as our nation began to expand agriculturally, music began to find its purpose in society. Few began to realize that the art of sound in time which expresses ideas and emotions through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color had an effect on their cognitive abilities inside the classroom. This led to the birth of music education as we know it. The problem lies not that music is an extracurricular activity, but a foundation to help students grow academically with honors achieving the ultimate dream. Today, music and many fine arts programs are on the decline hurting the lives of our students.
History of American Music
Music was not a major priority in the lives of the first American colonists. According to an article titled “U.S Music Education” The Boston Bay Settlement flourished in 1630 more than ten years after the settlers at Plymouth Rock. It was stated that these settlers had incredible amount of work to do, and little time to devote to music. However, it was not long before music was able to find its place in the church environment. Without the advancement of the latest technology that we have today, early settlers turned to singing as their praise of worship. Most of the time songs were led by the preachers who often lacked musical talent. In response to the unpleasant sound of the early church music, the start of music education was born. Reform began to take place in the appearance of singing schools. The first school of this type was opened in 1712 with the purpose to improve the quality of church music.
In 1717, the first American school was founded in Boston, Massachusetts. The schools main objective was to help students develop skills in music, reading and singing at various religious celebrations. Many schools began to act similarly opening up these same type of schools in their colony. By 1832, The Boston Academy of Music was founded teaching music theory and the study of music. One of the Founders Lowell Mason allowed music education to be taught in American schools. Music education then was integrated in the school’s curriculum for every age level and schools were thriving. By the 1900’s, Oberlin Conservatory was the first place to offer a full Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Colleges and universities as a result started to offer grants and scholarships to music students across the country. The objectives in American schools recently have been affected by major economic transformations, the civil rights movement, and the lack of funding which have had enormous effects on what goes on in the classroom. Today reform is being attempted but to stop the continuation of music programs in our schools for students like Johnny.
Problem for music...