Haveyou ever thought of evangelizing through music? Lowell Mason is oneof the few people who have achieved this dream. He managed to composea total of about 1,600 hymn tunes during his lifetime (Liqui Search1). Apart from this achievement, there are many instances indicatingthat Mason reached the stars and achieved his dreams.
Masonwas born on January 8, 1792 in Medfield, Massachusetts (Liqui Search1). He is regarded as a leading musical figure in the Church,especially in the U.S. Mason was born in a musical family since hisparents were renowned singers in the church choir where his fatherplayed an instrument known as bass viol. He was able to direct thesinging in his school after learning rudiments from his schoolmaster,Amos Albee. He was also motivated and influenced by a blind musician,Oliver Shaw, who was also able to make a collection of hymn. At theage of 16 years, he was given the role of the choir director andlater the leader of the Medfield town band.
Masonmoved to Savannah in the year 1812 at the age of 20 years where heassumed the role of a choirmaster in the Independent PresbyterianChurch. However, he worked as a bank clerk in order to earn a living.He advanced his music skills by studying composition and harmonywhile living in Savannah. Mason then became a partner in a local drycleaner store. He became a successful banker in 1817 when hisbusiness partner died (Liqui Search 1). Mason also served as a Sundayschool superintendent in Independent Presbyterian Church between 1815and 1827 (Pratt 1). He founded the Savannah Missionary Society in theyear 1818.
AlthoughMason assumed different careers and businesses, he took music as partand parcel of his life. He used the Sacred Melodies, a set of songswritten by William Gardner, as a model for preparing his owncollection of hymns under the guidance of Frederick Abel. The processof publishing it was a challenge. His collection was first rejectedby publishers in Boston and Philadelphia. However, the Boston Handeland Haydn Society agreed to publish the songs in 1822, but refused toinclude Mason’s name as the author.
Mason`ssongs became hits in the same year of publication, selling over50,000 copies (Pratt 1). His new popularity enabled him to negotiatefor the position of the music director in local churches. He laterbecame the music director and the president of the Handel and HaydnSociety between 1827 and 1832, where he used his position to reformthe organization that had refused to give him credit for his firstcollection of hymns (Pratt 1). He also made the first set of theSunday school songs with a name “The Juvenile Psalms” in 1829.The new hymns that were specifically written for children preparedMason for a new role of teaching music in schools.
In1833, Mason joined hands with other musicians (including Samuel Eliotand James Webb) to form the Boston Academy of Music. The objective ofthis institution was to enhance the delivery of music education inschools and raise the standards of singing in the church choirs. Thiswas followed by the publication of the book, “The Manual of theBoston Academy of Music”, where Mason held that it would provideprinciples that will boost the competence of the music teachers.
Masontravelled in different nations (including Germany, England, andSwitzerland) in order to meet with other musicians and enrich hiscareer. He received an award of an honorary doctorate in 1855 fromthe Yale University. He spent most of his old-age days teaching musicin church choirs and writing hymns. He died on August 11, 1872,leaving a legacy of the writer of thousands of songs that will remainrelevant for centuries.
LiquiSearch. Lowell Mason. LiquiSearch.2016. Web. 11 January 2017.
Pratt,M. A biography of Lowell Mason: The father of American musiceducation. Musicfor the Soul.2016. Web. 11 January 2017.