This is the third of our instructor-led online discussions for Mu 101 (Fall 2019). Refer to the handout you received the first day of class (click on this highlighted text to go to that page our class website) which describes the amount and kinds of contributions you’re expected to make to these online discussions — they’re all the same parameters of good conversation that happens offline, too!

This is our first online discussion that starts with a substantial blog post. At the end of the post is a set of questions to get the conversation going. You may find it helpful to read those first to guide you through the content. The approximate reading time of this post is 13 minutes, not counting any video media.

Cycles of history

Most aspects of music—how it’s made, how it’s consumed, what sounds people prefer, how it’s performed, and how it’s learned—progress in cycles throughout history from being popular/affordable/accessible to being elite/costly/niche and back again. Put another way, aspects of music that were popular in one generation or century are the same features that are considered elite or rare in the next. As cultural norms, wealth, and social needs shift over time, music changes, too. So, the history of music can be an indicator of other broad trends in history, economics, politics, and social structure.

As you read, think about other history courses you’ve taken that help fill in the gaps in this chronological survey. Think, too, about the ways in which this survey reinforces what you’ve learned in school or from reading (literature and non-fiction!) and movies—every piece of information we add helps flesh out your sense of the world and all it contains.

There’s one constant about how music is learned to keep in mind throughout this historical survey. As long as music has existed—and this is true today, as well—people have learned to make music by listening to music that’s already been made and by trying their hand at making music with each other. The skills, techniques, and details of music are passed down directly from an older group of musicians to a younger group.

Ancient Greece and the Medieval period (ca. 12th century BC to 1400 AD)

Medieval manuscript - The Geese Book 1503-10
A manuscript known as “The Geese Book” (1503-10)

For a large portion of European history, the keepers of knowledge were monks and nuns. In between prayers (we’ve heard examples of the prayers they would sing in class) and chores (e.g., cleaning, feeding animals, farming), a common daily task for men in a monastery or women in a nunnery was creating copies of important texts by hand. These texts included religious treatises, scientific texts, Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, and music.

The history of how music was learned is also the history of how people thought about music. One of the most important takeaways when thinking about music in the Medieval period is knowing just how important music was in the whole spectrum of human knowledge. The way people thought about education was quite different than it is now, and people divided human knowledge into two groups of related subjects, the quadrivium and the trivium:

Trivium (Literary arts)Quadrivium (Mathematical disciplines)
  • Grammar
  • Logic
  • Rhetoric
  • Arithmetic
  • Geometry
  • Astronomy
  • Music

Together, all seven subjects constituted a complete liberal arts education, and mastery of the trivium was required before taking on the quadrivium. Notice where music is placed—it’s of equal importance with math and the sciences. Notice, too, that none of the other fine arts appear anywhere in this list of essential subjects.

Organizing and prioritizing human knowledge in this way is an idea that comes from Ancient Greek philosophy. Here are some examples of how people thought about knowledge and music:

“Music is a science, certainly, in which exists sure and infallible knowledge.” —Aristides Quintilianus, On Music (ca. 130 AD)

“[T]he cosmos is ordered in accord with harmonia (just as the disciples of Pythagoras assert) and we need the musical theorems for the understanding of the whole universe.. [and] certain types of melos [melody, rhythm, and words sung] form the ethos of the soul.” —Sextus Empiricus, Against the Musicians (2nd century)

“Plato said, not idly, that the soul of the universe is united by musical concord [consonance]… [T]he music of the universe is especially to be studied in the combining of the elements and the variety of the seasons which are observed in the heavens. How indeed could the swift mechanism of the sky move silently in its course? And although the sound does not reach our ears, the extremely rapid motion of such great bodies could not be altogether silent, especially since the courses of the stars are joined together by such mutual adaptation that nothing more equally compacted or united could be imagined. For some orbit higher and others lower, and all revolve by a common impulse, so that an established order of their circuits can be deduced from their various inequalities. For this reason an established order of modulation [i.e., music with a mathematical connotation] cannot be lacking in this celestial revolution.” —Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Fundamentals of Music, Book I (ca. 500), a summary of the works of Nichomachus (60-100) and Ptolemy (100-168)

There are many ways that the works of Greek thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Epicurus, Euripides, and Socrates continue to shape the world in which we live today—democracy, trial by jury, empirical scientific observations, and public theater all come from Ancient Greece, for example. The very assumption that music is an important thing to study—something that Europeans have believed for thousands of years, long after the quadrivium was abandoned in education, to the point that nearly everyone takes it for granted without knowing where the idea came from—shows how such ideas are tied up in musical behaviors that are passed down over time.

Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras (ca. 1400-1800)

Musicians in these periods tended to be born rather than made. That’s not a knock against how hard they worked, just a pithy way of saying that in music, as in most other trades (e.g, blacksmiths, carpenters, farmers), fathers passed their skills directly to their children by teaching them to follow in their footsteps, and most education took place in the home. Most of the “big name” composers we’ll come across in class learned their craft or at least began their studies with their fathers at an early age (around 3 or 4 years old), who were themselves musicians who had learned from their fathers, who had learned from their fathers…

Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven (more on Beethoven in an upcoming online discussion!) all came from families of musicians and began their studies at an early age with their fathers. They heard excellent music making happening right in front of them from their infancy and reinforced what they saw with ongoing lessons in playing (usually keyboard, violin, and singing) and composition.

An important distinction of the post-Medieval era is that knowledge was more widely available beyond the monastery or the nunnery. Major universities were established in the Medieval period that grew in the Renaissance and beyond (Bologna, 1088; Oxford, 1096; Salamanca, 1134; Cambridge, 1209; Padua, 1222; Naples, 1224; Sorbonne, 1150). The invention of a printing press with movable type by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century facilitated the spread of knowledge, too. Both of these developments help support the general cultural trend towards making education fashionable—because book learning had been so rare previously, it was a mark of refinement, wealth, and quality at this point in time to be well-educated, and people who could afford to do so sought out education and ways to demonstrate their erudition.

On the musical side, there was a flowering of new treatises (rather than just copying ancient ones) written and published about music: its history, music theory, how to make music socially, how to play various instruments, and how to compose. Here’s a small but representative sample, with links to original texts wherever possible:

  • Baldassare di Castiglione, Il libro del cortegiano (Book of the Courtesan, 1528)
  • Antonfrancesco Doni, Dialogo della musica (Dialogue on music, 1544)
  • Pontus de Tyard, Solitaire premier ou prose des Muses & de la fureur poétique (First Solitaire or Prose on the Muses and Poetic Furor, 1552)
  • Gioseffo Zarlino, Istitutioni harmoniche (Harmonic Institutions, 1558)
  • Henry Peacham, “The Compleat Gentleman” (1622)
  • Johann Joseph Fux, Gradus ad parnassum (1725)
  • Johann Mattheson, Der vollkommene Capellmeister (The Perfect Music Director, 1739)
  • Johann Joachim Quantz, Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (Essay on Playing the Flute, 1752)
  • Joseph Riepel, “Fundamentals of Musical Composition” (1752)
  • Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach, Versuch über die wahre Art, das Clavier zu spielen (Essay on the Proper Manner of Playing A Keyboard Instrument, 1753)
  • Leopold Mozart, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule (A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing, 1756)
  • Georg Sulzer, Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Künste (General Theory of the Fine Arts, 1771-74)
  • Johann Philipp Kirnberger, “The Art of Strict Musical Composition,” (1776)
  • Johann Nikolaus Forkel, Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik (A General History of Music, 1788-1801)
  • Heinrich Christoph Koch, Versuch einer Anleitung zur Composition (Introductory Essay on Composition, 1782-93)

Music literacy—the ability to read music that is notated on a page—is central to the way classical music is taught from the Baroque era onwards. Musical notation allows musicians to share music with people who aren’t physically in front of them and to learn much more music than a single person can reasonably memorize in one lifetime. Here’s a brief video introduction to music notation:

Finally, another important method for learning music emerged in the Baroque era: conservatories. A conservatorio (for boys) or an ospedale (for girls) in Italy was an orphanage.

ospedale della pieta
Ospedale della Pietà, Venice, Italy

A conservatory’s main task was to train parent-less children in music. This may seem odd: Why teach an orphan to play violin when they don’t even have a home? But let’s take everything we’ve learned so far about the history of music into account: (1) There’s a long-standing assumption that music is crucial to making a complete human being (from the Ancient Greeks); and (2) People who have musical training are considered cultured and valuable (because it was was rare to have access to it). Given that, it’s pretty clear why people caring for orphans—children who have nothing, no money, no land, no dowry—would give those children some cultural capital in the form of musical training. Even a child with no family has something to offer if they can make music. For boys, that meant the potential to make a living—the fact that they didn’t have a father to teach them was no longer an impediment to success. For girls, this typically meant that they became marriageable—the fact that they could make beautiful music made them more attractive to a potential (rich) husband (more on this idea in another upcoming online discussion!).

What kind of music did these orphans play? Probably something like this this, which is a piece you’ve probably heard in commercials, hold music on the telephone, or other media:

It’s by a Baroque composer, Antonio Vivaldi (1683-1741), who taught violin at the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice, Italy (pictured above). He wrote hundreds of concertos like this (with a soloist standing in front of an ensemble that accompanies them). At the orphanage, likely Vivaldi himself would have played the solo part, with his students accompanying him. If he had an exceptionally talented student, she would have played the solo.

Romantic Era (basically the 19th century)

The goal of most music education in the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras was to turn the student into a competent professional musician: someone whose entire career revolves around music making in many ways (composing, performing, playing multiple instruments, teaching, and writing about music). The most important shift that happens in the Romantic era is an increase in amateur music making: doing it for fun rather than for money.

(Hey, this is one of those cycle things again! Music has always been made for fun, but the people doing that in the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras were members of the nobility and aristocracy. In the 19th century, people who didn’t have titles like “King” or “Duke” are able to make music, too—what had been elite becomes common.)

A common pastime in 19th-century Europe was making music at home—singing songs or playing chamber music with the family to pass the evening, playing for guests to entertain them (and to show off!), and keeping female children busy. People would learn to play an instrument and read music by hiring a professional musician to be their private teacher.

Jan Vermeer - The Music Lesson 1665
Johannes Vermeer, The Music Lesson (1662-65)

University-level music appreciation classes—just like this class you’re taking right now!—first appeared in the 19th century in Germany. This tells us some important things about the cultural landscape of the 19th century:

  • (1) People still thought that music was really important (those Greek ideals aren’t going away!),
  • (2) But not everyone felt like they understood music as well as they should (and they wanted to remedy that situation by studying), and
  • (3) Music was becoming more complex, and the kind of music being composed at the time was harder to understand just by hearing it once without some amount of training or background information.

Education of professional musicians was different; it didn’t take place in the home or in a university. People who showed particular musical talent at an early age in the 19th century didn’t study music with their fathers—middle class parents in the Romantic era were more likely to be teachers, government officials, or lawyers than musicians. Instead, they sent their children to the local (or regional) conservatory.

Wait a minute! Weren’t conservatories just orphanages with musical training? Yes, originally (see above), but once people realized how effective musical training could be if you kept kids captive and immersed in music education, they started choosing to have conservatories take their children and train them professionally. The major music conservatories in Europe that are still active today were established in the early 19th century:

  • Paris, 1795
  • Bologna, 1804
  • Milan, 1807
  • Florence, 1811
  • Prague, 1811
  • Warsaw, 1821
  • Vienna, 1821
  • Royal Academy of Music in London, 1822
  • The Hague, 1826
  • Liège, 1827

Children would typically enter the conservatory between the ages of 5 and 15 and study music there exclusively—no literature, no math, no science—and intensively for 10-15 years. They’d become proficient in all the skills necessary to make music at the highest level: composition, counterpoint, performance, sight singing, and conducting. Many of the “big name” composers you’ll come across in the 19th and 20th centuries were conservatory-trained: Hector Berlioz, Claude Debussy, Gustav Mahler, Maurice Ravel, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

But what about the US? Even though the United States declared independence from Great Britain in 1776, American culture still imitated European culture. This included the assumption that having musical knowledge was crucial for a person to be fully educated and worldly. The US didn’t have the same long-standing music education tradition that Europe did, and the major US conservatories and music schools were established quite a bit later than their European counterparts:

  • The Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, 1857
  • Oberlin Conservatory of Music, 1865
  • New England Conservatory, 1867
  • Boston Conservatory, 1867
  • Yale School of Music, 1894
  • The Juilliard School, 1905
  • San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 1917
  • Manhattan School of Music, 1917
  • Cleveland Institute of Music, 1920
  • Eastman School of Music, 1921
  • The Curtis Institute of Music, 1924
  • The Colburn School, 1950
Fry, William Henry
William Henry Fry, American composer, music critic, and educator

Without the same quality of musical training available, American orchestras and opera companies often weren’t as proficient as their European counterparts, and audiences weren’t as culturally savvy. Some American musicians experienced a fair amount of culture-envy or cultural inadequacy when they compared music making in America to the institutions of Europe.

One such musician, William Henry Fry (1813-64), staged a series of lengthy, dense public lectures in New York City in 1853 in a feverish attempt to bring the uncultured (or so he thought) American public up to speed with the European standard-makers. Notice that his lectures precede the establishment of any conservatories in the US—other people clearly felt the same pressure and put their efforts into institutional education.

Fry lecture 1853 NYT
An excerpt from a New York Times article in 1853 describing one of Fry’s public lectures on the history of music

The 20th century

The 19th-century trend of home music making (by amateurs for fun) was widespread—to the point that most middle-class families had a piano in their living room and at least one family member could play it reasonably well—until the Great Depression (1929-39). In the 20th century we again run up against another one of those social cycles: classical music making had become so common, and seemed so associated with “old people” (like parents and grandparents), that it stopped being fashionable. What was fashionable was popular music—jazz, rock, disco, hip-hop, or pop, depending on the decade in question and the audience at hand.

On top of that, the classical music made by those conservatory-trained professional musicians (who immersed themselves in all the techniques, skills, and history of music from an early age) was generally becoming even less accessible to the average listener. As an example of music from a conservatory-trained musician that is difficult for many new listeners, here’s Pierre Boulez’s Structures I (1952) and II (1962):

All of this means that the way music is learned in the 20th century is a more extreme version of trends that had already taken root in previous eras:

  • (1) Professional classical musicians were trained intensively, often from an early age, in a style of music that was becoming less and less popular;
  • (2) People who could afford it studied music privately in their homes (because they were continuing that Ancient Greek assumption that there’s value in music study!);
  • (3) Hands-on music making generally became less and less prevalent (consider that even garage bands, with self-taught teenagers playing guitars, drums, and bass, are significantly less popular now than they were 20 years ago—just a single generation); and
  • (4) The majority of the public only listened to music rather than playing it themselves, and increasingly they only listened to music that was recorded rather than played live. An oversimplified—and contentious!—description of the way music is learned today would suggest that there is a class of people who are trained to do the music making for everyone else.

There are exceptions to all historical trends, and in class we’ve already touched upon another approach to music education from the 20th century. The poster below hung in the New York City dance studio of choreographer Merce Cunningham in the 1960s consisting of rules for teachers and students, compiled by educator Sister Corita Kent in 1967-68 and partly inspired by composer John Cage. These rules (although the word “rules” here is used ironically, since the ideas they contain are so broad as to defy the formula of typical rules that must be followed) are an effort in one corner of the art world to buck against the rigidity of the conservatory tradition and the notion of top-down learning (i.e., from professional veterans to their disciples). Cage and his partner Cunningham used these rules as a way to create a learning environment in which they and their students were encouraged to grow, explore and create freely:

cage_merce_corita_rules-thumb-600x762-13868

Final thoughts

The question of “How is music learned?” is simplistic but not simple—the answer depends on when in history we’re talking about and who we’re talking about. The common thread in all of these music education methods is that effective learning involves meaningful and constant exposure to people who already make music at a high level, accompanied by rigorous, systematic training in many aspects of music making (e.g., multiple instruments, composition, performance). This should remind you of our last online discussion—even though historical music professionals didn’t know the neuroscience of training one’s brain, through thousands of years of passing music down people developed methods that reinforce neural pathways!

-Dr. J.

Some questions to get the conversation going

Because this is our first substantial online discussion of the semester, I’m providing a set of questions just to get the conversation started. As we proceed with these discussions, I’ll no longer add these guiding questions and trust that you have developed the critical reading skills to launch the conversation successfully on your own.

It’s most effective in an online forum like this to pick one idea at a time to respond to in a single comment, rather than combining several different ideas into one comment. And, these are just a way to get started—the best online discussions branch out into surprising new topics!

  • What would be your preferred way to study music of all the methods described?
  • What would happen if you adopted the Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules in your own life?
  • What kinds of music making/learning does this survey omit or leave out? Why do you think they’re not included here?
  • Why might knowing the history of how a subject has been taught be helpful?
  • How are your own educational experiences similar or dissimilar to the ways in which music has been taught?

105 thoughts on “Musical educations and the education of music (Online discussion Sep 23-29)

  1. Why does knowing the history of a subject taught to be helpful?
    Knowing the history of a subject provides the foundation for us and gives us a better understanding of a subject and also the importance.It will help us develop kills and knowledge we need to know.History helps to inspire and motivate us to do better sometimes.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. That and seeing outdated things from history allows you to take what has been done and add onto it, giving it a new spin. That’s why music has advanced to where we’re using synths and have newer genres of music like EDM

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I agree but Is EDM concidered a genre in music? although popular, but can you classify it as a music genre of music? No disrespect, i like it though.

          Like

          1. I definitely do think it counts as a genre. I watched a documentary of dubstep/electronica and so much skill and precision goes into creating the perfect beats. It may be a lot more modern and have less history attached to it, but I do believe it counts as a genre of music.

            Liked by 1 person

      2. I completely agree that we can learn from past mistakes from history but not only that, as others have said, we can make older crafts better by giving them our own personal touch and I also think that in music for example, its history allows us to visit the many different perspectives on what some might consider music and what others might interpret as valuable, with this insights we are also able to get a better understanding of the mentality of people throughout the many centuries and how some things have changed and how others remain and we are also exposed to many cultures.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That is why i came to QCC. i wanted to learn the history of music as a subject. This will help me put a solid foundation to my passion. Knowing about the history is as important as being a musician or an engineer. So knowing the history of a subject is very important. Lest’s take our professor for example, she knows her stuff. she knows the history of music. That is why she is able to teach the subject. So i totally agree with you statement.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Where it gets challenging is how well you can remember/reinforce what you are taught. When trying to learn and remember new things, it’s generally a good idea to try to retain a little at a time so you don’t overwhelm yourself.

        Like

        1. It sure get challenging to remember what you are taught. Your brain can only process so much information at a time, and to retain some of this information in your long term memory you have to keep processing that information which takes time, and adding new information make it more challenging.

          Like

    2. i agree with you, I think knowing history of a subject will also feed the curiosity of a person and it will help eliminate the confusion. The more knowledge we gain about the subject closer we get to understand the actual value of it. For example, if you have never learnt anything about Gold in your life, you will never be able to appreciate this precious metal.

      Like

      1. I disagree, History is not useless because it can be a form of learning things and what they did and what creation they created or the mistake they have done. I think of history is a way to help to make a better future for the next generation.

        Like

        1. I agree with jacklynwu94 the number 1 reason we learn is history is so we don’t make the same mistakes twice. We use history as a guideline to what and what not to do.If history was never taught, do you believe our society would be the same?

          Like

          1. Yeah. It’s just that there’s a difference between learning about history so we don’t repeat past mistakes, and memorize things in the past.
            History has mostly been about memorizing random facts about dozens of random people instead of actually learning what kinds of mistakes were made in the past.
            The other problem with history is that it is more prone to being twisted and altered to suit agenda’s so a person could actually be being taught the wrong things. North Korea is a prime example of this, where they “teach” their people that their leader is their God who must be worshipped.
            America has reached a point where the “history” that people are taught is about merely slandering people like Donald Trump.
            https://web.archive.org/web/20190929042022/http://www.theamericanmirror.com/new-american-history-school-textbook-slams-trump-supporters-afraid-of-rapidly-developing-ethnic-diversity-of-country/

            https://web.archive.org/web/20190929042046/https://www.educationviews.org/prominent-history-text-book-declares-trump-a-racist/

            If we’re going to teach history, it should at least be taught right.

            Like

        2. Agreed, History is a shapeshifter to our present days. We are all part of history for next generations and honestly I too believe that history brings about both good and bad curious influence.

          Like

      2. I don’t think history is boring, I just think it’s polished and lacks wholesome truth. Especially Western music history. It’s been shaped to fit a certain narrative and I believe that because of lacking diversity in certain fields within education, some people suffer, because they don’t feel a connection to it. Some people can’t relate to classical music due to cultural backgrounds. But the truth is, a lot of cultures crossed paths during this time and the alarming truth is that they’ve been purposely not included in this history to appear a certain “polished” way. I believe that if the honest truth had been printed from day one – a lot of these history books and courses could have a lot more students passing them and feeling more connected to them.

        Like

    3. I agree , in order to evolve you need to obtain the knowledge of the topic. The pro of knowing history helps prevent the same events from occurring again. History encourages advancement in the future , to new information , technology , and etc. The past implements a pathway to progressing but not to forget what has already taken place.

      Like

      1. There’s a difference between knowing history, and just memorizing random facts about history in order to pass a test; random facts that don’t really help you all that much when learning about history. For the most part, I’ve had to memorize random facts, instead of learning the most important things in history.

        Like

    4. I agree with mswaby knowing the history of a subject gives us a better understanding and concept on the topic. You could understand what wrongs happened in the past and you can also figure out the correct steps you need to take. You learn from others. Everyone has a different understanding of things and take them differently so you might give it a different twist that others didn’t.

      Like

    5. I agree with that because knowing the history of a subject gives us an understanding as to how, where, when and why something came about. Whether it’s music or not. Not only does it give us understandings but it gives us an opportunity to learn from the past and make it better. Or like you said learn from mistakes.

      Like

    6. we still need to know that some history has been tampered with or the real information that was to be past from generation tp generation has been lost and a group of people came up with something to cover the mess. In a case like that what can we do? can we be worried sometimes that we learnt the wrong history?.

      Like

    7. I agree with this, it’s very important to know the history of how something came to be. It also will help us understand where it can go.

      Like

    8. Yes, there’s good in history, but what if the “foundation” is authoritative with an evil past attached to it? Is History really all that helpful? Look where we are today. We have all this pretty and polished “history” that so-called motivates and inspire during a time where positive inspiration and peace is so hard to find. I don’t think history is truthful enough for us to propose it as some sort of importance. It could be though, but history is too toxic and if we ain’t using history to prevent our wrongs AND build a well-rounded progressive society, then we’re being lead by the ignorant and blind.

      Liked by 1 person

    9. I agree that understanding the history is helpful. I feel like once there is an understanding then the approach is better for learning.

      Like

  2. **Why might knowing the history of how a subject has been taught be helpful?**

    The most important aspect of learning anything (whether it be a skill, a language, a hobby etc) is learning about the history of it. You’ll never really KNOW anything unless you know about it all. Important events that took place, how it originated, the important cultural impacts on society (modern or classical) and much more. I don’t think I know of anyone that has completely learned anything without being enriched in the history behind it.

    Like

    1. Not everything requires you to know it’s history. I was taught basic math from a very early age, without having to learn the “history” of how 1+1=2.
      My problem with history is that we are taught a lot of useless things about the past instead of focusing on the important/interesting/relevant parts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see what you’re saying that some of the history we learn in school is useless, but history is such a important subject. It helps us learn about certain societies and how we all have evolved as people. If history wasn’t taught do you know how much of knowledge we would lose?

        Like

      2. That may be so, but if you’re trying to advance yourself in a skill set separate from basic things taught in school, learning the origin for things can help. Also, what one person finds in history to be boring or useless, might be a major someone is trying to graduate in college from. Like with music genres, it’s all up to our personal tastes.

        Like

  3. @ksmarti, this is true because when I signed up for this class I had no idea what it would be like and I’ve learned so much about music and it’s only a few weeks of the semester.
    I think the history of anything as you said is the key to mastering either a subject or hobby.
    Also, I am learning to appreciate renaissance period history more now that I’m involved in this class.
    Shara-Tuesdays

    Like

    1. I am hoping we cover the jazz era at some point. It’s my favorite genre of music of all time and I don’t really hear much discussion about it, much like classical music.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Music Education to me back in the days in high school was basically like “prep time” for me . Prep time was just free time on a Monday first thing to basically unwind from the weekend and share the new stories . Whenever it was music time I never gave my full attention because it wasn’t as interesting or as intense as it is now.In high school when it was music time I would fuss about why does it have to be mandatory ,So from this I believe Music as a subject gets more interesting as time progresses. Lastly , I think music education should be mandatory from pre-school so it can be loved and appreciated. What do you guys think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Music education is important to obtain at a young age due to the fact it will increase early activity in the brain. The privilege of music education will help a child work on multiple skills. For example , team work , creative abilities, memorization , and etc. Not only academically will the child succeed but also in the sense they will expand their minds.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think this is why most elementary schools have a music program. Exposing children to the arts at an early age is a great way to help them develop into well rounded adults. I wonder what effect it would have if we continued to keep music as a required class past 5th grade? How would this have made our educations different? I personally did band in middle and high school, but many people stopped studying and thinking about music once they got into their teens.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. as someone who works in a preschool, it’s difficult to get children with a lot of energy to listen to historical music, however they love new pop songs that they hear in animated movies which they can dance and sing to. I think music education is important but I also think kids should be able to enjoy music, not be forced to listen to something they’re not interested in.

      Like

    4. Well I can’t really relate to it because when I was taking music in high school I loved playing the flute and wished to adknowledge more of it and practice it but they were more about writing of concerts.

      Like

  5. “Why might knowing the History of how a subject has been taught be helpful ?”
    The way that I look at learning is we learn from what already has been done, to develop an understanding of what we could do just as great or even better from the way that we were taught. History has impacted us in so many ways, the more we know about the past the more we can better our future. I agree with both my peers in which you’ll never have a full understanding if you don’t grasp the concept of the full picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ◾What would happen if you adopted the Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules in your own life?
    adapting the Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules would help me to become more successful in my studies and have positive attitude towards adapting and learning new subjects and ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. i completely agree. The Kent/cage/Cunningham rules applies to almost everything in life. I also feel the same. with school or everyday thing we do in life. we must have some methods to every madness. these rule are should be on our refrigerator doors, in our bathroom and in our cars. the most intriguing one to me is rule # 6. especially as a music creator, although there are guide lines, remember there is no win or lose in doing so. Just make music. follow your gut instinct. Music is subjective in my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh my Lord! i just watch the Youtube link on how to read music. have been creating music on my computer and DAW and-just realized that i did not know anything about musical notations. M’ i the only one in class who don’ t know how to read music? i m glad that i’m taking this class. Hopefully Dr Jones will cover this subject in class. If not, eventually i will have to learn it. After all, this is a music production Degree. one last thing, why is the Clifs or the notes designed so funny? Can some one with experience explain it to me?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Is it me or Pierre Boulez’s Structures I $ II sounded like someone learning how to play the piano? Reply ang give your opinion. anyone.

    Like

        1. Really? what about the sound is intriguing to you? let me know, maybe i’m not getting the melody if there is any. like ny5abi said, i think he just hitting keys to create sound. Im sure he has a purpose but i m not getting nothing.

          Like

          1. Something about nonsensical noises makes me more alert and allows me to pay attention to it. A melody can be a melody sometimes, but a random keysmash? My brain becomes obsessed with trying to create a tune out of it so it can make sense to my ears.

            Like

    1. To you it may sound like a someone learning to play a piano but it’s another persons beauty, what we might not find interesting is someone else’s preference. But I personally agree with you that it sounds like someone is learning how to play the piano.

      Like

  10. What would happen if you adopted the Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules in your own life?
    It will help me build my understanding skills. The more I can understand something the better question I will be able to ask. It will surely make me more curious about everything around me and it will help me become better person overall.

    Like

    1. I agree with what you are saying there is a way to have an more understanding with what skills you obtain from learning the basic skills of music .

      Like

  11. I like how the professor took instances of people preserving music for thousands of years, and used that as an example of how people were able to preserve a piece of music and convince all of the other future generations to preserve it too, just so that piece of music wouldn’t get lost.
    There’s this youtuber who goes by the name Prince Ea who made a video called Why Most People Die Before 25. https://youtu.be/oKAmujgS4mo?t=28
    One interesting thing he said was how graveyards were the wealthiest places in the world because of how it’s filled with things that were never created. People who die take all their knowledge and potential with them, so when nobody preserves a song, then that song ends up getting lost forever when the person who originally came up with that song dies, so it makes sense to be able to figure out how to preserve things long after you die, which is what Professor Alice Jones was exemplifying in class. Music is preserved most likely so that people in the future can learn about them, and so that someone else can potentially enjoy them instead of just the people from that timeline that the music was originally created. The idea is that if you create something that you believe everyone should see or hear, then you would naturally want as many people as possible to see or hear that thing, even long after you’re gone, so that explains how and why people preserve things and get others to preserve it too. It’s easy to preserve something for a few days or weeks, but it’s far more challenging to try to preserve something for centuries. All of these preservations make up history, and history to me is basically a collection of the things and information that was preserved out of the many things and information that may or may not have been preserved. That is what the youtube was trying to say, that we lose out on so much, and so much goes to waste into the graves, never coming back to be discovered, so that’s why things are preserved so well, and people use this reasoning to convince future generations to preserve these things and ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that is a very interesting observation! I often think about the music that was created before we had a system of documenting/writing music down. we have no idea what the music of ancient civilizations sounded like as we have no written note records. We have evidence of music through visuals such as art and artifacts from which we can make inferences, but so much music through history has been lost as it was impossible to record.

      Like

    2. I agree with you on the fact why music preservation is such an important idea. If it weren’t were for those people hundreds of years ago that preserved the different types of music,I feel that certain cultures and music wouldn’t exist as we speak right now.

      Like

  12. That is well said my friend. very interesting narrative on preservation and history. i agree completely. Now, you make me think of Julius Eastman the great composer whom if not by Dr. jones lecture i would have never heard of his work. remember how many of his creation if not all of his creations were destroyed. He died homeless, no money i guessed and no family to keep his legacy alive. Therefore, what ever is left of him is the only history of his talent.

    Like

  13. My personal educational experiences are similar to the ways in which music has been taught is by the commencement at a young age. Since i started pre-school i was learning beats , rhythms , and lyrics to music. The power influence lead to learning basics such as a,b,c’s and 1, 2,3. The only change when you get older is that we progress to singing songs from music sheets instead of by ear and orally. The lyrics to songs are able to be deciphered due to the fact that we know what the words mean and the knowledge of the different notes , pitches, and tones of the music. Music education is important because without the brain takes longer to memorize , operate and process information. The lack of music education leaves a child without creative expression and helps build self esteem. In order to make a great student music plays an important factor to the evolving of a student. The brain can function even without the ability of one being able to talk so including music into ones life helps to keep the brain active and working hard.

    Like

    1. Yeah. When you start learning music, you first learn the bare basics. You get that foundation established, and then you advanced and learn more about the details of music.
      Do you think it’s easier to remember songs than it is to remember basic information?

      Like

      1. I find I easier to remember things if I put a tune to it, or sing it, or hum it. I remember song lyrics way easier than i remember my grocery list so, yes.

        Like

  14. The way I learned to play musical instruments was quite a bit different from a lot of other people. While I had the same early music education as everyone else, I had a hard time grasping the concept of music theory. I excelled at playing the French horn, my tone was great and I received lots of praise from my teachers, yet when it came to reading music I was practically illiterate. I learned to play almost completely by ear. I learned melodies, and I completely faked my way through years of band as first chair French horn. I could hear a note and repeat it perfectly without knowing what it was, but if somebody told me to play a b flat I wouldn’t know what to do. I managed to get through my entire music career without really knowing how to read music. I learned to play my instrument completely by ear. I wonder if this is how the first people to make music must’ve learned and taught? And then found a way to write down their thoughts on paper?

    Like

  15. Everyone has their own way in adjusting to creating music or following it . But there is many different prospects to how others may learn from the tempo music brings. Musicians can go from point a . growing up with learning how to read music sheets or playing instruments at age 3 to their adult hood , but then it can also relate to being part b. learning how to just play a single note. My question is whether or not a person can still have inspiration once that spark or reason to play goes away?.

    Like

    1. Remember the 3 fundamentals of music: Tempo, Melody, and Harmony.
      Tempo is how fast the music is playing.
      Melody is what is being played.
      Harmony is how much of it is being played simultaneously.

      Like

  16. This reading was very interesting. This was very enlightening because we see how highly music was held in comparison to logic and literature. Even if you sit and think about how challenging it can be to compose a song the thought process behind is very true that it does make you think faster and even write better.
    Also, if we see how in times of hardship or even at the orphanage classical music was taught and even look at as a way to become someone of significants. For example, during the Great Depression people would try to learn how to make classical music. Let’s even go back to how the education system was set during that time, education was limited due to the fact everyone had to work to make money. So, teaching oneself how make music once again makes that person desirable to be hired or in some cases desirable in marriage.

    In understanding the history you will also see even in today communities how desirable lessons in music are. Being able to sit next to cello is such a beautiful thing. The few times I have seen someone play an instrument I was fascinated at how beautiful it was to hear the music enters my ears. Even till this day the lovely sounds of concert is in my head and I can literally replay it over and over again as if they were right in front of me. Also another part to notice is that classical music does give you the flexibility to be extremely creative. Don’t get me wrong you can be creative with all the technology that makes music and such but, being able to compose a song from the first note gives you so much room for creativity

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our education system got a lot worse because of George Bush and Barack Obama with their No Child Left Behind and Every Student Succeeds Act policies.
      Lessons in music are quite fun though. It’s particularly interesting when you watch a film and you see music played according to the scenes. For example, this youtube video shows music played according to the situation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJYpKsGroio
      When the character goes on his little adventure, we get the basic adventure music, and then at the very end, when then characters fight each other head-on, the music cuts to a more serious action music.
      It’s just such a great example of how music can make the scenes more intense and interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Shara-Tuesday
    What would happen if you adopted the Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules in your own life?
    I think this would give me a sense or urgency order and effectiveness in everything I do. Hurry even though it’s not an emergency, have some sort of order , being unkempt is not professional and lastly, make whatever I do be of significance or purpose.

    Like

    1. When you say Kent/Cage/Cunningham rules, are you referring to this? http://archive.fo/iUQXQ
      If so, then here is what I think would happen when I follow those rules.

      “Rule One” states “Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.”
      This one seems a tricky to understand, and, to understand this, you need to first understand what it means to “trust” a place. I think trusting a place means that you find this place to be a reliable place you can go to when you are being bad. In this case, the place I trust would be my bedroom. It’s peaceful and quiet, and I can meditate in there without having to worry about distractions.

      “Rule Two” states “General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.”
      I think this means trying to bring out the best of yourself, your fellow classmates, and your teacher/professor.

      Since I’m a student, rule three doesn’t apply to me, which states “General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students.”

      “Rule Four” is to “Consider everything an experiment.”
      This makes sense since the whole point of an experiment is to try to learn something, and in life, we are almost always learning.

      “Rule Five” is obvious. It is to “Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.”

      I’m not sure about Rule Six, which says “Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.”
      I think it is trying to say that, just because we see something as a mistake, doesn’t guarantee that it is, and also that mistakes can be a good thing, since we at least learn something, so at the very least, it’s a learning opportunity and not a mistake.

      “Rule Seven” is also straightforward, which says “The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.”

      “Rule Eight” says “Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.”
      This makes sense since humans are generally bad at multi-tasking anyways.

      “Rule Nine” seems to be one of the more important ones. It says to “Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.”
      This would mean that we should try to enjoy what we do in life, even if it isn’t interesting, since there are a lot of people out there who are worse off than we are.

      Then there’s “Rule Ten” saying “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)
      This goes to show that rules aren’t perfect, and that we often have to take risks and do things that we normally wouldn’t want to do.

      Like

      1. Yup. I have a sense of not being so orderly at times. Which I think I would make me really a part of the last rule . Most times I have no urgency even though I’m sure of the time . I have no order although i know that something is supposed to be in order and sometimes I just don’t care even though I know it’s the right way.
        Which makes reluctant when it comes to rules at times.

        Like

  18. knowing the history of music and how it is made is important because its tradition! learning how music has evolved with us is an amazing concept to me and I feel like if I was to pursue a career in music I would want to know the history and the sounds of the generations that came before me, and I would want to know why they made music that way and how. reading the beginning of this post and learning during the baroque era in Italy, orphanages would take in little boy and girls with no family, future, and no money – or promises to money would be taught how to play, read, and compose music. these skills would later be able to provide for them in some way and give them a future. The fact that music was so valued at the time it could promise a future to a child is an amazing concept to me and It would be nice to see the same kind of values in todays generations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We tend to pick up various skills from learning these topics. For example, when you are taught history, you can then potentially relate that to something else that you know.

      Like

  19. Why might knowing the history of how a subject has been taught be helpful?

    Now a day I hear music classes are being taught from an early age. I’ll be honest I never was exposed to a ‘music class’ until my senior year in high school where I slightly learned to play the trumpet (ps it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be) and the only reason I took that class was because it was a recruitment for graduation. Aside from that I was never introduced to music. Christen does have a point when he said you don’t need to know the history of everything , but it does give you a nice background of the origin or how something came to be. That’s why I decided to take this class . Even thought it’s an elective for me I’m glad I choose this class. Sometimes you open the door for history you never would have imagined you would be interested in.

    Like

    1. I remember learning to play the drums back in middle school, but I didn’t find myself to be up to the task. When playing in a group, you have to follow your instructions carefully, and you have to be in sync with the other members of your band.
      Did you have any trouble being in sync with others when you were playing the trumpet?

      Liked by 1 person

  20. As a grew up many of the thing I learn in school I notice my teacher in middle school to high school would make every lesson fun or have an creative activity. For example counting number my teacher would do it with cat or dog. This way each student would be interested and have their attention into the class and actually learn something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that was interesting. i guest that was an exciting way to learn things. i use to learn a different way back in those days. kids would be called to go write on the blackboard then with your back facing the back of the class. worried because if you missed spelled or did some thing wrong you would know. The teacher’s teacher’ s belt would hit your back so hard that you would pray that the lord comes down to earth and save your little sorry but from the spot light. Knowing that, every lesson was memorized and every math formula was encoded in head for life. I wish i had the cats and dogs method too.

      Like

  21. My preferred way to study music would to be taught by my father. I believe that this method not only teaches you to have great value in music but also can be a great bonding experience between my father and I. This method also offers sentimental value, along with a great learning experience, what would be better than being able to be taught something by the person you look up to the most. Being taught by a parent offers a comfortable learning environment, I also believe that in most cases when children are taught at home, they usually excel in their craft. Studying music that is taught by my father would more than likely be motivation to be perfect at it, because I would want him to be proud of how effective his teachings is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree with you that it might be a great bonding experience and I also want to add that not only would be more motivated to get better but I feel that it might also make you get a better understanding of others as you watch or listen how someone you know plays an instrument.

      Like

    2. I agree with you all that learning with a loved one is much better for learning and it helps with bonding. I also read a article that stated parents who were involved in their children education helped their kids adapt and learn at school easier.

      Like

  22. What would be your preferred way to study music of all the methods described?
    For the past few years, I wish I was taught music during my early years and if I had the opportunity to chose the method in which to learn from would be from the 19th-century, that of home music making. I would have liked to be taught by my parents or close relatives because I feel that it might have helped me be more relaxed while learning and have fun at the same time instead of being afraid to not learn something correctly or make a mistake in front of a teacher. Although having a professional teacher might make it easier to understand and get a grasp of let’s say musical notes, they might as well put rules to follow and tell me how to play an instrument rather than being free to experiment. One question I have is, what would you do if there were rules on how to play a certain instrument or how to sing and how that would affect us as listeners and those who compose/play/sing?

    Like

  23. Why might knowing the history of how a subject has been taught be helpful?

    ~ It’s helpful in general knowing how life was shaped and what actually started trends onto certain stereotypes. Like when we discussed in class and listed the many we hear and experience in our lives. The way we were educated then to now, I’d say we gathered more perspectives and unique qualities to transform one form of music to many others. And we adapt gradually to new customs and cultures adding into our own theories of what sounds is considered music, and which kind of music is to be exceptional versus not. Knowing so it gives us a chance to redirect our judgements, and be more open-minded to people who express their own opinions about what’s a sound vs noise.

    Like

  24. Like history said , great composers had learnt music skills from their parents at early age and they keeps teaching that skills to their children from generation to generation. However, in a family that of all blacksmith and one of them love music but the family history has been around crafting objects. How should such a person go about with music because it a 50/50 if the blacksmiths family supports the child going into music. So is history still the best means on how people can learn about music?
    how should this person in this case learn about music?

    Like

    1. In the case you have given, it would be inheritance. The one who love music would learn from the outside environment of the family. The one who love music could pursue his/her career and abandon the inheritance given the person as a blacksmith.

      Like

  25. Why might knowing the history of how a subject has been taught be helpful?
    Knowing how a subject is taught can be helpful in a number of ways. Knowing how something is taught can explain a populations reasoning. For example, a population may think meat is good to consume. But on the other hand, the opposing party may be against it. The side against consuming meat may not agree with animal cruelty, but the side consuming meat may have learned meat has a excellent source of protein. Another reason as to why knowing how a subject was taught can make can promote advancements in learning. For example, as time went on, scientist have learned they are different learning styles to accommodate everyone. Sciences learning this caused people to have a better learning environment.

    Like

  26. I think knowing the history of music allow you to appreciate it in a different way. If the history of music was not persevered to pass on from generation to generation could you imagine what the musical world would be like today? knowing the history of music allow us to make comparison of how time and music have change, and musical instruments was developed and played. The history of music have help to structure the music of today. History have played and important in our life, and our generation also play an important part for the next generation.

    Like

    1. I strongly agree. Even though our generation is more technologically competent, it could be a harm to people actually trying to learn to play instruments. I say this because, audio versions of instruments and beats being made electronically is stepping away from the traditional way of making music.

      Like

  27. I agree with you that is being able to learn music history allows us to appreciate it in different ways. We get to learn how it was made and what it means and if music history was not preserved throughout all these years. The music world would be in a much different place today.

    Like

  28. -Why might knowing the history of how a subject has been taught be helpful?
    I believe knowing the history is of a subject is important because it’s helps us understand the fundamentals of said subject. Without its history we will never have all the information we need to take this subject to the next level we want to take it to. It can lead to misinformation, and repeating mistakes. We need all of the information required to make well rounded decisions, comments, and to even form our opinions on subjects

    Like

  29. Experience from the past, nurture from the environment, and the history from this Earth, this is what I have read so far from the comments (I agree with those ideas) that give a certain meaning to music to different people. I learned music from my childhood till present time, around this period of time I learned to appreciate more and more the music being composed (from upbeat to classic).

    Liked by 1 person

  30. My preferred way of learning music is the way I was just taught from watching that video. As for being a visual learning and being taught with examples that were in the video it was very helpful. I always wondered what the different symbols and lines meant but now it makes sense.

    Like

  31. The fact that hands on music has become less prevalent, isn’t that a red flag for the music industry? Doesn’t this make the music industry less authentic?

    Liked by 1 person

  32. For many years, I purposely tried to detach myself from the history of western systemic music building, because I didn’t like how it made me feel. These eras of documented music history happened during a specific time of building hateful racially related systems that’s almost never discussed in text books. Beyond the education, the art, the social status… race based content should be as widely acknowledged in this whole topic of history, because race made a difference during these times (and to this very day). Now, I’m able to admit this and understand that experience is needed in order to build musically and mentally. It is ok to learn about the musicology of Western music, because there’s awesomeness associated with to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I think it would’ve been interesting to include the effects of music listening and learning while under the influence, but I get the academia of omitting it from most musical conversations. No one wants to glorify drug usage.

    However, I’ve come across people who’ve embraced an understanding behind the system of building a musical composition because of drugs. We also live an era where it’s ok to say that a lot of musicians are said to “release their best music while high.” I’ve read tweets and facebook post from people who have drank liquor and ate an marijuana edible and listen(ed) to music for hours. Sometimes, they’d cry, they’d laugh or some say they’ve replayed a note over and over, because they’ve never heard it attacked and released that way. Obsess over classical compositions they’ve never thought they’d enjoy.

    Maybe including a chapter on the science of music and drugs in academia for music 101 could help people realize the effects are the same and that drugs aren’t necessary.

    Not to say that listening to music while sober isn’t as rewarding, because here you’ll see a study on how music has the same effect on your brain as sex and drugs:
    https://www.digitaltrends.com/music/music-drugs-brain/

    An article on LSD and the brain whilst listening to music (explained by science):
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924977X16300165?via%3Dihub

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I find it interesting that there was once a time when kids were brought up from 5-15 to fully emerse themselves in the world of music. I think doing that for kids who were orphans was a great idea. As it was said in the reading, the kids were trained and brought up to learn music so they can learn music and use it to become succesful and have a good career. For me it is to make money and live a good life performing. For women it was known to potentially become more well rounded individual and attract a man to marry. It is also amazing how the teaching music still carried on to later centuries, until it came to the point where it became normal to have a piano in the house

    Like

Comments are closed.