Early Musical Education Around The World

Early Musical Education.—The training of students in music has been the special care of the greatest men connected with the art, a subject close to the heart of men of rank and of means, and the object of Governmental and municipal subvention. In most of the countries and many of the larger cities of Europe, Art is considered a legitimate object for public aid and fostering, and music receives a fair share of funds set aside for that purpose. In the period before the Christian Era, musical education was carried on to prepare singers and players either for the religious service, and in the hands of the priests, or for entertainment and by slaves. Pope Sylvester founded a school for singers, at Rome, in the 4th century, and the Church all through its history has laid stress on means for training executants for its musical services. Guido of Arezzo, credited with a number of reforms in the teaching of vocal music, is said to have had a school for training singers to read musical notation. Like him, many of his successors in prominence were in charge of classes of pupils, yet this method by no means accords with our ideas of systematic, logical education in music. It was largely the personal power and eminence of the master that attracted and retained pupils.

Musical Education in Italy.—The first examples of the founding of schools of music or conservatories take us to Italy. The noted theorist Tinctor or Tinctoris started a school at Naples, in 1496, but this did not last very long. In the early part of the 16th century, several institutions were founded by private contribution for the purpose of affording homes and instruction to orphaned children. Ecclesiastical music was at first the special object of these schools.

The pupils sang in choirs, various religious offices, processions, etc. There were four of these institutions : Santa Maria di Loreto, founded in 1535, which had on its roster such eminent musicians as Alessandro Scarlatti, Durante, Porpora, Sacchini and Guglielmi; San Onofrio, founded in 1576, some famous pupils being Gizzi, Jommelli, Piccini and Paisiello; De Poveri di Gesù Cristo, established in 1589, numbering among its pupils, Greco, Vinci, and Pergolesi; Della Pieta de’Turchini, started in 1584, having among its pupils, Leo, Cafara, and Feo. In 1797, the first two named were united, the third was changed into a seminary for priests in 1744, ‘and in 18o8, the last was closed, and a school of music was established to take the place of the remaining institutions. This school, which received the title Reale Collegio di Musica, still exists.

Venice rivaled Naples in devotion to music, and early took measures to give musical instruction to the wards of charitable institutions. These schools were not named Conservatorio, as at Naples, but Ospedale (hospital), since they were a part of the foundation for institutions to receive the poor and infirm, their work as conservatories developing gradually. Such masters as Lotti, Galuppi, Scarlatti, Cima-rosa presided over the four schools best known. When the Republic fell, these institutions collapsed in the financial crisis that followed. The principal music school in Venice at the present time is the Liceo Benedetto Marcello, which is subsidized by the city. An Italian conservatory of ancient date is the one at Palermo, which was established in 1615. At the present time it is a State institution. The Academy of St. Cecilia, at Rome, dates its original foundation to a society of musicians formed in 1566, a charter being granted by Pope Gregory XIII, in 1584. The Academy possesses the largest and most important musical library in Italy. Milan had a school of music as early as 1483. The celebrated theoretician, Gafurio, was the first great teacher. It was not permanent, however, and though there were schools for singers there from time to time, it was not until 1807 that the municipality established a regular school of music.

The first school of music at Bologna was established in 1482, but it did not become permanent. In later years, musical affairs were in the hands of academies for the pro-motion of arts and sciences. In 1864, a school was opened on modern lines. Genoa has a school which was founded in 1829; it is subsidized by the city. The school at Florence was opened in 1862, and is richly endowed. A school was heavily endowed by Rossini and located at Pesaro, his birth-place.

The Paris Conservatoire.—To France belongs the honor of following closely in the footsteps of the Italian authorities. In 1784, a Royal School of Singing was opened in Paris, under the direction of Gossec, the composer; in 1793 it was enlarged in scope and was called the National Institute of Music; in 1795 the name was changed to the Conservatoire de Musique, which it still bears. In 1800 the organization was further modified by Bonaparte. The institution receives an annual subvention from the Govern-ment. This school is justly considered as one of the greatest in existence and has been the centre of musical training for practically all the prominent French musicians. A great incentive is the celebrated Prix de Rome (Roman Prize), which enables the winner to spend three years in study in Italy and Germany. The library is one of the most important in France, and dates from the foundation of the school. The Museum, which has one of the finest collections in Europe, was established in 1864. Affiliated schools have been established in the principal French cities, such as: Marseilles, Toulouse, Nantes, Dijon, Lyons and Rouen.

Musical Education in Germany.—Among the German conservatories, that at Prague is the oldest. It was founded in 1811. Besides music, the course of study provides for instruction in general branches. The violin department of this school is one of its strongest features. The conservatory at Vienna was opened in 1817, under the direction of Salieri, as a vocal school ; other branches were added and by 1821 the foundation was that of a true conservatory. The course of study is comprehensive and the school has graduated a number of eminent musicians. It is under the patronage of the Society of the Friends of Music. Probably the German conservatory best known to American readers is that founded at Leipzig, in 1843, by Mendelssohn, and of which he was the first director. The fund used in starting the school was one of 20,000 thalers bequeathed by a Government official “for the purposes of art and science.” Such masters as Schumann, Moscheles, Ferdinand David, Plaidy, Richter and Reinecke were members of the faculty at different periods in the history of the school. This conservatory has had a larger number of American pupils than any other German institution. The oldest conservatory in Berlin was a private institution. The most important school is the Royal High School for Music, which is a branch of the Royal Academy of Arts, and is under the patronage of the Prussian Government. This school has three sections, the one for church music was opened in 1822, for musical composition in 1833, that for executive art in 1869. The violin school, under the direction of Joseph Joachim, attracted pupils from all parts of the world. Cologne has a conservatory which is aided financially by the municipality. This school was established in 185o, Ferdinand Hiller being the first director. The Royal Conservatory at Dresden was organized in 1856, and has paid considerable attention to its department for opera. Munich has a school which receives. State aid. It was founded in 1867. Rheinberger, who was teacher of composition here, drew a number of Americans to the school. Other schools receiving State or municipal subventions are those at Wuerzburg, Weimar, Frankfort and Wiesbaden.

Other European Music Schools. — The other European countries have also promoted the organization of schools for teaching music. The strongest schools in Switzerland are those at Zurich, Geneva, Basle and Berne. In Belgium are several fine schools : at Brussels, founded in 1813, which is now a Government institution, at Liége (1827), at Ghent (1833), and at Antwerp, the latter founded in 1867, by the noted Belgian composer, Peter Benoit. These four schools receive State aid., Holland has three conservatories in her three large cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Scandinavian musical education is cared for by the conservatories at Copenhagen, Christiania and Stockholm, the last being under Government patronage. Spain has conservatories at Madrid, Saragossa and Valencia, and Portugal, one at Lisbon. Greece sustains a school at Athens.

St. Petersburg Conservatory.—A conservatory of great importance is that founded at St. Petersburg through the exertions of the famous composer, Anton Rubinstein. In 1859, he organized the Russian Musical Society, the first object of which was to give amateurs an opportunity to practice orchestral playing. Changes in the policy of the Society were gradually introduced, branches were founded in several other cities, among them Moscow, and serious efforts were inaugurated to organize a music school in the Capital. The first instruction was given gratuitously, money was raised in private circles and a floor was rented in a private house in 1862 for the use of the school. The Emperor Alexander II gave to the school an annuity of 5000 rubles and a building which was the property of the Crown. In 1866 the name was officially designated as Conservatory, and from that time on several members of the Royal family became patrons of the school, socially as well as financially. Rubinstein was the first director. The building at present occupied by the school was formerly the Grand Theatre and is very completely furnished for the purposes of the Conservatory, having two concert halls, museums, library, class rooms, chapel, etc. Among the graduates of the institution are Tchaikovsky, Glazounoff, Balakireff, Arensky, Liadow, Gabrilowitsch, Sapellnikoff and Felix Blumenfeld.

Musical Education in England is well cared for, principally by the strong schools in London, of which there are four that call for particular notice. The Royal Academy of Music is the oldest ; it was founded in 1822. This institution has had royal patronage from the beginning. The British public has generously replied with subscriptions to appeals made for funds at different periods in the history of the school, the Government grant being revoked on several occasions. At the present time the revenues are a Government grant, subscriptions, donations, and students’ fees. Such eminent musicians as Dr. Crotch, Sterndale Bennett and Sir George Macfarren have filled the position of principal of the school. Sir A. C. Mackenzie is the present head. A strong rival to the Royal Academy is the Royal College of Music, which is the outgrowth of the National Training School for Music, founded by the Society of Arts in 1876, Sir Arthur Sullivan, first principal. It was in 1883 that the institution passed into the hands of the newly-organized Royal College of Music. The funds of the college come from fees, subscriptions and endowments. Sir George Grove was director for a number of years and was succeeded by Sir C. H. Hubert Parry, the eminent composer and theorist. Trinity College is the out-growth of the activity of a musical society formed to pro-mote church music and singing. In 1881 it was incorporated under the name it now bears and the scope of its instruction extended. The Guildhall School of Music is under the patronage of the authorities of the City of London. This institution was founded in 188o, and has a very large attendance. The present director is Mr. W. H. Cummings. The leading English universities, Cambridge, Oxford, Lon-don, Durham, and that at Edinburgh and Dublin have courses in the theory of music, leading to degrees.

Musical Education in the United States : Boston.—The United States has no schools of music under Governmental or municipal direction, and none which receive subventions, and but one, established in 1905, in New York City, which is endowed. The spread of musical education has been due to the energies and in many cases the sacrifices of musicians and music lovers in the larger cities. In Lesson LVII reference was made to societies in the three large American cities, Boston, New York and Philadelphia, to further musical education. The oldest true music school in the United States is the New England Conservatory of Music, in Bos-ton, founded by Dr. Tourjée, in 1867. A notable feature was the dormitory for female students. Eminent instructors were engaged, both foreigners and Americans, and the school quickly established a reputation as the leading institution for musical education. Dr. Tourjée was succeeded in the directorship by Mr. Carl Faelten, who resigned after several years of service and was followed in the office by Mr. George W. Chadwick, the present director, in 1897. In 1902 a new building was erected largely through the benefactions of several public-spirited citizens of Boston. Among the teachers who exerted a strong influence on American pupils may be mentioned Stephen A. Emery, A. D. Turner, Lyman W. Wheeler, Carlyle Petersilea, Otto Bendix and George E. Whiting. A school in Boston, with special strength in the violin department, was the Boston Conservatory, founded by Julius Eichberg.

The West. — In 1878, several music-loving citizens of Cincinnati established the Cincinnati College of Music, with Theodore Thomas as the first director. After him came various members of the faculty, and in 1897, Mr. Frank Van der Stucken accepted the post of dean of the faculty. In connection with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Festival Association, the College of Music has been a powerful factor in the musical life of the city. As an educational force it has done much for music in the West and the Southwest, and its pupils have carried into all sections of the tributary States sound musical precepts. Chicago has, at the present day, several schools, organized and con-ducted by private enterprise, which are doing splendid work and have made the city the musical centre of the West. Musicians of the highest rank have been brought to the United States by several of these conservatories, to the benefit of musical art in Chicago and the Western States.

Oberlin Conservatory of Music, a department of Oberlin College, may be taken as a type of the American idea of musical work in an institution of learning. The school has a strong faculty and a large number of pupils, whose work receives credit for graduation in the college courses ; the students in music have all the privileges of those entered in the regular colleges. Oberlin has been a great factor for musical progress in the Middle West.

The East.—New York City has two schools that deserve mention : the National Conservatory of Music, founded by Mrs. Jeannette Thurber, a school which has offered as teachers to the American pupils such musicians as Rafael Joseffy and Antonin Dvorak; the Institute of Musical Art, opened in 1905, with Frank Damrosch as director, with a faculty of high repute, both Europeans and Americans. This school started with an endowment of $500,000 given by Mr. James Loeb, a New York banker. A school of music managed on conservative lines has existed for a number of years in Baltimore, in connection with the Pea-body Institute, which was endowed by the banker, George Peabody. At the present time nearly every city of importance in the United States contains one or more conservatories, managed on a strictly business basis, and furnishing to the people of their communities thorough instruction at reasonable cost.

In the Colleges.—The important American institutions for higher education, both for men and for women, have recognized the claim of music to a place in the curriculum, and have provision for instructions in the theory, history and esthetics of music, many also having facilities for instructions in the practical side of music. Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, California and Northwestern Universities have established professorships of music, and have called eminent musicians to the posts. The work done in hundreds of schools of less reputation is a great factor in spreading musical culture throughout the country.