Biography: Lowell Mason (1792-1872) is best known as the founder of American school music education. Although he also composed and arranged hymn tunes and published many influential tune books that had a national audience, his work as a pioneer music educator, first at the Boston Academy of Music which he co-founded in 1833 with George James Webb and soon after in the Boston public schools, where he taught for over twenty years, remains his greatest historical legacy. The Lowell Mason Papers are at the Yale University Music Library. Life Chronology:
1792 Born, January 8, Medfield, MA
1805 Attended his first singing-school and was taught by Amos Albee, compiler of The Norfolk Collection of Sacred Harmony
1808 Directed the choir of the Medfield church and later the Medfield band
1812 Went to Savannah, Georgia where he worked in a dry-goods store
1813-1824 Led singing-schools and concerts in Savannah
1815-1827 Was the superintendent of the Sunday School and also a leader in the Independent Presbyterian Church where he was appointed choir director and organist
1817 Began studying harmony and composition under German-born Frederick L. Abel
1818 Was a founder and an active member of the Savannah Missionary Society
1822 The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music was published, a collection of hymn tunes compiled by Mason and based on the Englishman William Gardiner's Sacred Melodies
1827 Accepted an invitation to supervise the music of three Boston Congressional churches and served as president of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society until 1832
1827-1832 Was president and music director of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society
1829 Compiled what he believed to be the first Sunday-school collection with music, the Juvenile Psalmist, followed in 1830-31 by the Juvenile Lyre
1831 Became choirmaster of Lyman Beecher's Bowdoin Street Church
1832-1833 Taught a children's vocal music class at Bowdoin Street Church and gave children's concerts
1833 Established the Boston Academy of Music along with George James Webb
1834 Published The Manual of the Boston Academy of Music, an edited translation of G.F. Kuebler's Anleitung zum Gesang-Unterrichte in Schulen
1837-1845 Was superintendent of music in the curriculum of Boston schools where he continued to teach until 1851
1844-1851 Was organist and choirmaster of the General Church, where the choir of about 100 maintained his reputation for excellence
1845-1855 Was a staff member of the teachers' institutes of Massachusetts State Board of Education and was involved in state sponsored teacher training.
1851-1853 Lectured in the British Isles on congregational singing and the Pestalozzian method of teaching
1855 Awarded an honorary doctorate in music by New York University
1872 Died, August 11, Orange, NJ
Source: Eskew, Harry and Carol A. Pemberton, "Mason, Lowell" (The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, ed. S. Sadie, 2001, xvi, 31-35)