The idea of music is not something new. Music has been around longer than anyone can perceive. The process of teaching the musical theories and ideas to someone is just as ancient as music itself. Someone with knowledge of music taught another, and they taught the next person. Music has lived on through the ages by people teaching it to each other by example.
Music was linked to the gods and divine powers in ancient Greece. Greek philosophers and theorists came up with many ideas about music that influenced the musical thought throughout the Middle Ages, and still lasts to this day. Some concepts were interpreted to the Middle Ages through early Christian writings. Many of these writings were not rediscovered until the Renaissance. In fact, modern music theory and its vocabulary is largely derived from the Greeks. Also, Greek harmonics laid the foundation for notes, intervals, scales, and modes.
Philosophers Plato and Aristotle had different views on music. Plato believed that the right kind of music engaged the mind and enhanced temperance and courage within a human being. Aristotle held that the addition of music heightened the theatrical experience for the viewer.
In about 4th century B.C. music education had evidently reached the height of its influence. Music was first joined with poetry, but was starting to become its own area of study. The mathematics of music was studied for its own sake in schools, and in Rome, music education became an aspect of intellectual discipline. Music was ordinarily performed by slaves and foreigners, to entertain the highborn Romans.
In the 6th century a philosopher named Boethius penned five books entitled, De Institutione Musica (The Fundamentals of Music). These books provided a point of reference for the musical teachings in the Catholic Church.
Music was prized for being naturally expressive of religious feelings. Music education became standard in court schools and parochial institutions. Due to the insistence of Luther and Calvin, school regulations for musical teachings were enforced.
When printing was invented, it had a very positive effect on music education. Composers began writing music for educational purposes. Although these advances were promising, the general public was still poorly educated in music. Only about 6 private schools had music as part of their curriculum.
The early American colonists brought with them many ideas about musical instruction. One of the first things they achieved was the establishing of religious services, which hymn singing played an important role. Eventually, music in the churches advanced. Instructional song books were written, and small choirs were formed within the churches. Singing schools emerged to help improve the choirs’ abilities.
During the late 1700s, many musical ensembles started to form. These paved the way for a new form of musical gathering. The first musical convention was held in Concord, Vermont, in 1829. Conventions of this type lasted...