The INTERNATIONAL HISTORY OF MUSIC EDUCATION Website
A project of ISME’s History Standing Committee
Guido d’Arezzo
Guidonian Hand
ISME Website History Standing Committee IHME Homepage
UNITED KINGDOM - Prominent Music Educators   Gallery of Prominent British Music Educators  By Gordon Cox JOHN HULLAH  John Hullah (1812-1884) was born in Worcester, went to school in Brixton, and in 1833 entered the Royal Academy of Music in London. He visited Paris and observed the work of G.L.B.Wilhem in developing schools for popular instruction in vocal music. He translated Wilhem’s method into English for school use in 1842, and this became known as Hullah’s Manual.  Hullah was taken up by a number of highly influential friends and patrons, including Charles Dickens, Charles Kingsley, F.D.Maurice, and Prince Albert. The government endorsed his method. His singing classes spread like wildfire. Unfortunately Hullah’s method was deeply flawed and it was unusual for classes to move beyond the first part of his method. In 1872 he was appointed Inspector of Music in Training Colleges. His unswerving belief in the fixed-doh system in spite of its much publicised problems, brought him into conflict with the Tonic Sol-faists, who eventually won the day.   JOHN CURWEN  John Curwen (1816-1880) was born in Heckmondwike in Yorkshire, and received his professional training for the ministry within the Congregational Church. As an assistant minister in Basingstoke he began to think about children’s education. In 1841 the Congregational Church chose Curwen to spearhead an initiative to improve church singing. He was attracted to Sarah Glover’s Scheme for Rendering Psalmody Congregational, and with some modifications he began to publicize the system. In 1864 he focused entirely upon the promotion of tonic sol-fa.  In 1851 he founded the Tonic Sol-fa Association, and soon after began editing the Tonic Sol-fa Reporter. He began to expand his activities to include the training of teachers. Through his step-by-step instruction books, including The Teacher’s Manual of the Tonic Sol-fa Method (1875), he enabled teachers to evangelise the method throughout the country to the extent that it dominated other sight-singing methods. After John Curwen’s  death, his son, John Spencer Curwen, took over the leadership of what had become the Tonic Sol-fa movement.   JOHN STAINER  John Stainer (1840-1901) was born in the London district of Southwark. He became a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral, and then read for an arts degree at Oxford. He returned as organist to St Paul’s Cathedral from which he resigned in 1888. Stainer was regarded as one of the country’s finest organists and improvisers. The following year he became Professor of Music at Oxford. Stainer had been appointed ‘Inspector of Music in the Training Colleges and Elementary Schools of the Kingdom’ in 1882, on Hullah’s death. Stainer threw his weight and influence behind the Tonic Sol-fa system. His annual reports on his visits to Training Colleges between 1883 and 1899 provide detailed evidence of how teachers were trained to teach music in schools. Stainer was also a distinguished composer, mostly of church music, and in particular The Crucifixion (1887).  W.G.McNAUGHT  William Gray McNaught (1849-1918) was appointed as assistant inspector of music in 1883, and worked side by side with John  Stainer. As a school pupil  McNaught was taught sight singing through the tonic sol-fa method. On leaving school he entered the coffee trade, but his spare time was devoted to making music. He taught the violin free of charge in East London, and in 1972 entered the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he met John Hullah. He decided to become a teacher, and after working some time in a public elementary school became a Professor of Music at Homerton Training College. He later became editor of the influential monthly periodical, School Music Review. McNaught dominated the world of music education, particularly in his strong, authoritative advocacy of the tonic sol-fa method. He fully expected to succeed Stainer as Inspector of Music in 1901, but resigned in anger from his post when Arthur Somervell was chosen instead.    ARTHUR SOMERVELL  Arthur Somervell (1863-1937) was born in Windermere, in the Lake District, and attended Uppingham School. From there he went to Cambridge, as a pupil of Stanford, and then to the Berliner Hoschule für Musik. In 1885 he entered the Royal College of Music as a pupil of Parry. Somervell was announced as the new Inspector of Music, to succeed Stainer. He became Chief Inspector in 1932, and was knighted for his services to music education. Somervell’s vision for music in schools was based upon: a philosophy derived from Plato and Aristotle; a view of childhood that stressed the instincts and emotions; the   link between music and moral values; the essence of music as rhythm; and an enthusiasm for the national song repertoire. Under his stewardship in 1927, the nomenclature of the subject was changed from ‘singing’ to ‘music’. Somervell established something of a reputation as composer, his major works including the song cycle, Maud, and a Violin Concerto.  WALFORD DAVIES  Walford Davies (1869-1941) was born in Oswestry in Shropshire, and received his musical education as a chorister at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and later was a student of Parry and Stanford at the Royal College of Music, London. He built a considerable reputation as a choir trainer at the Temple Church, London, and as a composer. In 1918 he became organiser of musical activity for the Royal Air Force in France, and a year later was appointed Professor of Music at Aberystwyth and Director of the Welsh National Council for Music. He returned as organist to St George’s Chapel, Windsor in 1926, and in 1934 succeeded Elgar as the Master of the King’s Musick. In 1922 he recorded for HMV twelve Melody Lectures on disc, specially targeted to schools. Two years later he commenced his weekly school music broadcasts for the BBC, which lasted until 1934. A feature of his educational work was a firm belief in the ability of children to write their own tunes- what he called ‘tune building’.  BERNARR RAINBOW  Bernarr Rainbow (1914-98) was born in Battersea, London. He studied music part-time at Trinity College of Music, London, and established himself as a church organist and choir director. After war service he taught music at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, and in 1952 was appointed Director of Music at the College of St Mark and St John, a Church of England training college for teachers. There he presided over an influential department which focused particularly on curriculum development based upon experimental and avant-garde approaches to music making. At the same time he was also committed to the ideas of John Curwen in teaching sight singing through sol-fa, but at the same time training the musical ear and sharpening sensitivity. Through his research Rainbow became the foremost authority in Britain on the history of music education. His best-known work is Music in Educational Thought and Practice published in 1989, with a revised second edition in 2006. In 1996 he set up, with the help of Peter Dickinson, the Bernarr Rainbow Trust, a charity that provides financial support for a range of musical and educational projects.   ARNOLD BENTLEY  Arnold Bentley (1915-) was born in Lancashire, and studied classics at the University of Reading, but was always a keen musician, both as an organist and choral conductor. After serving as an Education officer in the Royal Air Force during the war, he taught in schools and lectured in teacher training colleges. In 1949 he took up his lectureship at Reading, and quickly made his name as a pioneer of research in music education. His book Music Ability in Children and its Measurement (1966) became one of the most referenced books in the field of music education. In 1968 Bentley convened the first International Seminar on Research in Music Education at Reading, and subsequently was elected the first Chairman of the ISME Research Commission. In 1970 he directed the Schools Council project ‘Music Education of Young Children’, whose watchword was ‘if you can teach reading, you can teach music’. Today Bentley is regarded as one of the father figures of research in music education.    JOHN PAYNTER  John Paynter (1931-2010) was born in South London. He attended Emanuel School, and studied at the Trinity College of Music.  After National Service he taught in a variety of schools, before becoming involved in teacher education. He was appointed to the Music Department of the University of York in 1969.  In 1970 his jointly authored book (with Peter Aston), Sound and Silence, was published. Subtitled ‘Classroom Projects in Creative Music’, it became a highly influential text, with its emphasis upon children as improvisers and composers. Paynter directed the Schools Council project ‘Music in the Secondary School Curriculum’ between 1973 and 1980. His work directly influenced the way music was taught in the new National Curriculum and in the General Certificate of Secondary Education. He was also the founding co-editor, together with Keith Swanwick, of the British Journal of Music Education which made its first appearance in 1984. Paynter was a composer, and a number of his works involved children performing side by side with adult choirs and orchestras, including The Voyage of St Brendan (1979) Gallery of Prominent Music Educators Bibliographic Resources Overview ISME Website History Standing Committee Copyright © 2014 History Standing Committee, International Society for Music Education (ISME) IHME Homepage IHME Homepage Gallery of Prominent Music Educators