Hall of Fame's Michael Mark Offers a Concise View of Music Education

According to Bennett Reimer, Michael L. Mark’s A Concise History of American Music Education “tells the story of American music education with erudition and clarity.”

Reimer, who is John W. Beattie Professor of Music Education Emeritus, Northwestern University, continues: “All music educators and others who want to and need to know the colorful history of the largest arts education field in American schools will be amply rewarded by Mark’s scholarship, which succeeds in being both succinct and thorough. This book is an important addition to the foundational literature of this field.”

Music historian Mark is a member of the Music Educators Hall of Fame. He hopes the book, an abbreviated version of his and Charles L. Gary’s A History of American Music Education, will encourage music educators to take pride in their profession.

“Music education has a long, proud history and has made a significant contribution to our society as a whole,” Mark says. “I hope that my book will help us realize how we got to where we are today, and that as music educators, we have a longstanding sense of community.”

Mark also hopes that sense of community will lead music educators to understand the need for music education advocacy, which will help to sustain the profession over time.

The book covers European music education in early times, the development of music as a curricular subject, professional education organizations, the broadening music curriculum, the expansion of music education, and music education in the 21st century.

Mark examines the evolution of American music education from singing schools to the influence of European music to the role music played in the civil rights movement and the rise of multicultural music in schools.

Mark is professor emeritus of Towson University, Towson, Maryland, where he served as dean of the Graduate School, with responsibility for all of the graduate programs on the Towson University campus. His interest in music education history can be traced back to his own days as a graduate student at the school of music at the University of Michigan.

He conducted a great deal of his research at the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) Historical Center at the University of Maryland in College Park.  “My research is primarily secondary sources, and I was very lucky to have such a wonderful collection close by,” he said. Mark, who lives in Baltimore, made frequent trips to the collection to conduct his research.

The MENC Historical Center collection includes administrative records, MENC publications, and papers of past presidents and other important music educators. Mark said the MENC archives include special collections of music “and a wonderful collection of books, photographs and other items you can’t find anywhere else. In addition the staff there is very knowledgeable, very helpful. I enjoy doing research there.”

A Concise History of American Music Education is available in paperback for $24.95 and clothbound for $70. MENC members receive a discount of 25% off the publisher’s list price. To order or for more information, call 800-462-6420 or visit Rowman & Littlefield.

Roz Fehr, November 5, 2008. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education