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History of Music Education in the Philippines

LETICIA G. DEL VALLE
Music education is the dissemination of music knowledge, skills and appreciation. The
process may occur in the structured setting of a school or in a more informal manner.
Music permeates the daily lives of indigenous culture groups. it is used in connection
with life-cycle events such as birth, courtship, marriage and death. Occupational activities
such as planting, harvesting, hunting and fishing and functions such as peace pacts and
victory celebrations are occasions for music making. Lullabies are sung to put babies to
sleep, instruments are played to drive away evil spirits and songs and chants accompany
the playing of children. In these communities, singing of songs and playing of instruments
are naturally learned through participation. Formal ways of learning are however practiced
among many culture groups.
A Maranao lad who wishes to specialize in singing certain types of the extensive
Maranao vocal repertoire studies with a professional singer in a kasombak (apprenticeship)
system. He stays with the goro (teacher) and does daily chores for free instruction, board
and lodging. The training of the morit (student) begin with the learning of songs by rote,
gradually progressing to creating improvisations and variations and ends with the student
singing in his own style songs prepared by the teacher. Training includes learning the
vocabulary and grammar of specific song languages, and other aspects of performance
(Cadar, 1981). Among the Tausug highly formalized systems of instruction are practiced in
the study of the purely vocal tradition, mixed vocal-instrumental genres such as
the paggabang, and solo instruments such as the tata gabbang (solo gabbang) andtata
biyula (solo biyula. Trimillos, 1972).
The Spanish colonizers who arrived in the 1500's brought with them missionaries who
established churches, convents and schools in different parts of the islands. Among them
were church musicians and music teachers who composed and performed liturgical music,
wrote books on music and taught young Filipino boys to sing the Gregorian chant and play
instruments for church services. Among the schools established was a Franciscan seminary
in Lumban, Laguna in 1606 where 400 boys were trained in singing and playing of
instruments. Many years later, the Colegio de los Niños Tiples de la Santa Iglesia Cathedral,
a school noted for its excellent training of boy's, choirs, offered classes in solfeggio,
vocalization, composition and the playing of organ and other stringed instruments.
Graduates of the school included musicians such as Salvador Pinon, Fulgencio Tolentino,
Antonio Garcia, and Simplicio Solis. Founded in 1742, the Colegio existed until the outbreak
of the Second World War (Banas, 1969). In the 1800's a rich musical life developed in the
urban areas particularly in Manila and the more affluent provinces. This was brought about
by a large number of visiting foreign musicians, singers and opera companies who
performed in the theaters and concert halls of Manila and in some cities in the South. These
musical events contributed greatly to the music education of the Filipinos along secular
forms of Western music. (Guevara, 1971).
The American colonial government established public schools all over the islands. The
first teachers were American soldiers who were later replaced by the Thomasites. Curricula
of these schools included music in the elementary level. Music instruction concentrated
based on the Progressive Music Series, a graded foreign collection of songs, and a Philippine
edition of the same series by Norberto Romualdez. Similar materials which were used much
later were the 6 volumes of the Bureau of Public School Series which consisted of basic
songs (the Philippine National Anthem and other patriotic songs) folk songs of the
Philippines and other countries, works of Filipino and foreign composers and suggestions for
the teaching of rondalla and rhythm band. (Yamson, 1972).
In 1966, the Philippine Congress passed Republic Act No. 4723 popularly known as the
Music Law which provided for the teaching of music and art as a separate subject in the
elementary level and the teaching of music once a week for one hour in the secondary level
(Yamzon, 1972). The New Elementary School Curriculum of 1982 however, required the
teaching of music as a separate subject only from grades III to VI and its integration with
other subjects in Grades I & II. In the high school, music was made a part of a subject area,
PEHM, which includes Physical Education and Health. Content of instruction consists of a
study of Philippine, Asian and Western music. The Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA)
is a special secondary school established by the government in 1977 which provides training
in music, dance and the visual arts. Here, music scholars are given instruction in
performance, theory and literature as well as academic subjects. In the tertiary level,
schools of education offer PEHM specialization and 6 units of music for students studying for
a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree. Colleges and universities offer
undergraduate and graduate courses in music. Various courses range from a Diploma in
Music, Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Performance (major in piano, voice, strings,
winds, or percussion) Composition, Musicology, Conducting and Music Education, to a
Diploma or Certificate in Performance.
The University of the Philippines (UP) College of Music is one of the leading schools of
music in the country. Originally a conservatory patterned after European and American
music schools, the College today has strong multicultural thrust reflected in the integration
of non-western music courses of studies in the fabric of its over-all curriculum program.
Other schools with strong departments offering music degrees are: the University of Sto
Tomas (UST), St. Scholastica's College, Philippine Women's University, St. Paul's College,
Sta. Isabel College, Centro Escolar University, Asian Institute of Liturgy and Silliman
University. Music instruction are also being provided by tutors, numerous private studios
teaching art and popular music, and music organizations that hold seminars and workshops
to improve the quality of instruction in their specific fields of specialization.
The Philippines Society for Music Education (PSME) founded in 1971 is the main
organization in the country actively engaged in upgrading the standards of classroom music
teaching in the elementary and secondary schools today. It took over the work begun by
the Philippine National Society of Music Education (PNSME), which was founded in the early
1960's and was active until 1970. Other music organizations are the Piano Teachers Guild of
the Philippines, Kodaly Society of the Philippines, Aschero Society of the Philippines, the
Philippine Federation of Choral Music, and the National Music Competitions for Young Artists
(NAMCYA) Foundation.

History of Arts in the Philippines
The Art History program is focused on the study of the concepts and processes in the visual arts through
the ages. The work of art is contextualized within its historical and aesthetic framework. Studio
training provides the student technical knowledge of the artist’s tools and materials. Research
documentation and critical analysis are the focus of the program.
Paintings
Artistic paintings were introduced to the Filipinos in the 16th century when the Spaniards arrived in
the Philippines. During this time, the Spaniards used paintings as religious propaganda to spread
Catholicism throughout the Philippines. These paintings, appearing mostly on church walls, featured
religious figures appearing in Catholic teachings. Due to the Church's supervision of Filipino art and
Spanish occupation of the Philippines, the purpose of most paintings from the 16th-19th century were to
aid the Catholic Church.
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In the early 19th century, wealthier, educated Filipinos introduced more secular Filipino art, causing art in
the Philippines to deviate from religious motifs. The use of watercolor paintings increased and the subject
matter of paintings began to include landscapes, Filipino inhabitants, Philippine fashion, and government
officials. Portrait paintings featured the painters themselves, Filipino jewelry, and native furniture. The
subject of landscape paintings featured artists' names painted ornately as well as day-to-day scenes of
average Filipinos partaking in their daily tasks. These paintings were done on canvas, wood, and a
variety of metals.
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During World War II, some painters focused their artwork on the effects of war, including battle scenes,
destruction, and the suffering of the Filipino people.
Dance
There are many different types of Filipino dances varying in influence and region. Types of Filipino dance
include Cordillera, Muslim, tribal, rural, and Spanish style dances.
Within the cordillera dances, there is Banga, Bendayan, Lumagen/Tachok, Manmanok, Ragragsakan,
Salisid, Talip, Tarektek, and Uyaoy/Uyauy. The Banga dance illustrates the grace and strength of women
in the Kalinga tribe. Women performing the Banga balance heavy pots on their heads while dancing to
beat of wind chimes. This mimics Kalinga women collecting and transporting water. Another dance, called
Lumagen or Tachok, is performed to celebrate happy occasions. When Lumagen is performed, it is
meant to symbolize flying birds and is musically-paired to the beat of gongs. Another cordillera dance,
Salisid, is the dance to show courtship. In the Salisid dance, a male and a female performer represent a
rooster attempting to attract a hen.
Tribal dances include Malakas at Maganda, Kadal Blelah, Kadal Tahaw, Binaylan, Bagobo Rice Cycle,
and Dugso. Malakas at Maganda is a national folklore dance. It tells the story of the origin of the Filipino
people on the islands. Another dance, called the Binaylan dance, tells the story of a hen, the hen's baby,
and a hawk. In this dance, the hawk is said to control a tribe's well-being, and is killed by hunters after
attempting to harm the hen's baby.
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Two examples of traditional Filipino dances are Tinikling and Binasuan and many more. Filipinos have
unique folk dances like tinikling where assistants take two long bamboo sticks rapidly and in rhythm, clap
sticks for dancers to artistically and daringly try to avoid getting their feet caught between them. Also in
the southern part of the Philippines, there is another dance called singkil using long bamboo poles found
in tinikling; however, it is primarily a dance showing off lavish Muslim royalty. In this dance, there are four
bamboo sticks arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern in which the dancers exploit every position of these
clashing sticks. Dancers can be found trying to avoid all 4 bamboo sticks all together in the middle. They
can also try to dance an entire rotation around the middle avoiding all sticks. Usually these stick dances
performed in teamwork fashion not solo. The Singkil dance is identifiable with the use of umbrellas and
silk clothing.
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Weaving
Philippine weaving involves many threads being measured, cut, and mounted on a wooden platform. The
threads are dyed and weaved on a loom.
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Before Spanish colonization, native Filipinos weaved using fibers from abaca, pineapple, cotton, and bark
cloth. Textiles, clothes, rugs, and hats were weaved. Baskets were also weaved and used as vessels of
transport and storage, and for hunting. These baskets were used to transport grain, store food, and
catching fish.
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They also used weaving to make just about all of the clothing that was worn.
They weaved rugs that they used for quilts and bedding. The quality of the quilt/bedding was based on
how soft, how tight together, and the clean pattern. The patterns were usually thick stripes with different
colors and with a nice pattern.
However, during Spanish colonization, Filipinos used fabric called nipis to weave white clothing. These
were weaved with decorative, flower designs.
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Pottery
Traditional pot-making in certain areas of the Philippines would use clay found near the Sibalom River.
Molding the clay required the use of wooden paddles, and the clay had to be kept away from sunlight.
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Native Filipinos created pottery since 3500.
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They used these ceramic jars to hold the deceased.
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Other pottery used to hold remains of the deceased were decorated with anthropomorphic designs.
These anthropomorphic earthenware pots date back to 5 BC. - 225 A.D and had pot covers shaped like
human heads.
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Filipino pottery had other uses as well. During the Neolithic period of the Philippines, pottery was made
for water vessels, plates, cups, and for many other uses.
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Other Art Forms
Tanaga is a type of Filipino poetry. Kut-kut is an art technique used between the 15th and 18th centuries.
The technique was a combination of European and Oriental style and process mastered by indigenous
tribes of Samar island.
Past Filipino Artists
Past notable Filipino artists include Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, Augusto Arbizo, Félix Hidalgo,
and David Cortés Medalla. Present-day Filipino artists featuring Filipino culture include Anita Magsaysay-
Ho, Fred DeAsis, Daniel Coquilla, Ang Kiukok, Lito Mayo, Mauro Malang Santos, Santiago
Bosé, Francisco Viri Rey Paz Contreras, and Nunelucio Alvarado.
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The Arts or Paintings by Zóbel,
Amorsolo and many more could be seen in most of the art museums in the Philippines. Zobel's paintings
can be seen in the Ayala museum.