Music in Ancient Greek Education
Think how easy it is to remember the lyrics to your favorite songs. This is how the Greeks taught their children.
Back then, even though most of what we know about their poetry was written down, most people couldn’t read or write so everything was memorized.
The Greeks used the aulos, which is an early version of the recorder, and the lyre, which is an early guitar.
Besides being blessed by the muses with the gift of verse ( this means the creative writing of words into patterns to fit styles of poetry), almost all the ancient poets had other occupations. Some were teachers, others philosophers, and some were soldiers.
Even the government hired poets to write words praising the rulers to try to get people to follow their every whim. This is known today as propaganda.
Music in Education in Modern Greece
Prior to 1990, there was inadequate provision for aesthetics and arts education within the Greek education system. In 1990, a Presidential Decree for Aesthetics Education made significant proposals for the modernization of arts education in schools, particularly in reforming and regenerating art teaching.
In 1995, the Ministries of Education and of Culture launched the Melina Project, a ten-year initiative that aims to raise the status and improve the quality of the cultural dimension in education and to “the revival of the everyday school activities with the help of the indissoluble power of art and culture.”
This project aims to promote curriculum reform in and through the arts at all levels of education from pre-school to university. The project encourages a review of existing teaching methods and curriculum content in the arts – including theatre, visual arts, modern dance, music, photography and literature.
It also proposes a wide development of practical links between schools, artists and cultural institutions both through well-planned visits by pupils to cultural centers, especially museums and other sites of historical or archaeological interest, and through residencies, and visits to schools by artists.
Music Education in Primary Schools
Music is an obligatory course in Grades 1-10. Curriculum includes exercises in getting to know the elements of music, Or ff instrumentation, singing, basic music theory and listening. Grades 1-2: students have music lessons only in some schools that are part of special programs. Grades 3-6: music is taught for two 45 minute periods per week.
Music Education in Secondary Schools
Music specialists are nearly sufficient in numbers. The curriculum includes music appreciation, history of music , singing. Usually there are choral groups and orchestras in all the schools that perform in different occasions and celebrations of the school life. Grades 7 – 10: music is always taught one 45 minute period per week.
Music Education in Universities
There are four university music departments in Greece. Subjects include musicology, ethnomusicology, music and general pedagogy, music education, traditional Greek music, Byzantine music, psychology, music history, form, harmony, analysis, counterpoint, fugue, choral conducting and acoustics.
Special Music Schools
Throughout Greece there are 28 special music schools for grades 7 to 12. The curriculum for these includes individual performance lessons (with an emphasis on Greek traditional instruments such as the kanonaki, santouri, oud, lute, percussions instruments), and lessons in the classical instruments. Also studies in theory, harmony, analysis, form and structure, history of music, solfeggio, counterpoint, and Byzantine music are taught as classroom subjects.
In Greece, especially in the towns, there are a lot of small wind and percussion orchestras “banda”1, that offer instrumental lessons for free. These orchestras perform mostly patriotic and traditional music on different occasions in the community life.
Also there is a large number of community choirs, amateur and professional, that perform in festivals, various celebrations, concerts and competitions.
Useful Links about Music Education in Greece :