It's impossible to know when our ancestors began to teach music, but thanks to ancient records written on clay tablets in cuneiform (one of the first forms of written language), we do know that music was being taught in a systematic way by c. 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia. There is even a record of a music lesson, taught to a boy named Hebi-Eridu by a teacher named Il-Siri, for which five shekels of silver was paid. The boy was learning to sing and to play four different musical instruments, and the transaction was recorded on a cuneiform tablet by the schoolmaster, Ili-Ippalsani.
We know this because of the painstaking work of archeologists, historians, and musicologists, who help us to understand who we are by studying the past. This information is available (with footnotes) in the teacher resource content for "Special Feature: The First Written Music" from Around the World in Twenty-One Trumpets. See how this kind of interdisciplinary subject matter can be used for student-centered learning by following the link below and scrolling down to "Featured Content."
Hebi-Eridu and his teacher couldn't have imagined a world 4,000 years in the future where music would be taught and learned through computers, tablets, and smartphones, but they must have known then what we all know now, that music is one of the most intimate and powerful forms of human expression, and that learning music opens doors to the mind and soul, and brings people together in profound ways.
We at Brass for Beginners want to express our sincerest thanks to all the teachers who have continued to put their students first during the pandemic, working in extremely difficult circumstances, for institutions under enormous stress, to make the world a better place for future generations. Teaching music was clearly an important occupation 4,000 years ago, and seems increasingly-so with the passing of time.
Scroll down and take some time to see and hear some of our best BfB educators discussing and demonstrating the program.
Happy Holidays and goodbye 2020!