Violin Pedagogy: How Did They Learn?
By Dr. Robin Kay Deverich
Although the apprenticeship system and private instruction were the primary means of instruction for professional violinists, musicians were also trained in church cathedral schools and conservatories. The precursor of modern conservatories were 16th-century Italian orphanages: cori and ospedales. One of the most renowned ospedales was Pio Ospedale della Peta (la Pieta) in Venice, an orphanage for illegitimate, orphaned, or abandoned girls. Antonio Vivaldi was affiliated with la Pieta from 1703-1740, and composed hundreds of his concertos and symphonies expressly for student and faculty associates of la Pieta.
Successful state-run music conservatories were founded in locations such as: Paris (1795), Prague (1811), Vienna (1817), London (1822), and Brussels (1832). The Leipzig Conservatory, founded by Felix Mendelssohn in 1843, quickly achieved an international reputation for excellence and became a model for many conservatories throughout the world.
Keene described the purpose of early European conservatories:
In the late 1800s, six major conservatories opened in the United States: Oberlin (1865); Boston (1867); Cincinnati (1867); New England (1867); Chicago Musical College (1867); Peabody (1868). Sollinger described how these American conservatories sought to do more than merely educate the musically gifted:
An indication of the popularity of conservatory instrumental classes is indicated by enrollment figures at the Boston and New England Conservatories:
 Keene, James. A History of Music Education in the United States. University Press of New England, 1982: 278.
 Sollinger, Charles. The Music Men and the Professors-A History of String Class Methods in the U.S. 1800-1911. Unpublished dissertation, University of Michigan, 1970: 99-100.
 Sollinger, 1970: 10.
© Copyright 2015 RK Deverich. All rights reserved.