Music History Eras

Did you know? Just like the history you learn about in school has different time periods, or eras, so does the history of music. And each music history era has different characteristics and different changes in how the music was written and played. Even though the first music history era starts in 500 A.D., that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any music before that. Music existed long before that time; it just wasn’t classified into a specific time period for music history. So let’s look at these different time periods and some very basic characteristics for each one.

Music History Eras
Music History Eras

Early Music (also known as Medieval Music)

This period of music history corresponds to the Middle Ages, about 500-1400. Most music then was vocal music, written to be sung in the church. There were not very many instruments available. The main instruments were the recorder, the trumpet, the bagpipe, and the shawm (somewhat similar to the oboe). During this time people were just beginning to develop the ideas of how to write music on paper.

Renaissance Music

This music history era was the same time as the Renaissance era in world history, from about 1400-1600. During this time people explored new ideas and new worlds,  and discovered, or rediscovered, new things in art and music. Most of the music was still vocal music, but it was not all just for use in the church any more. Also, the printing press was developed during this time, so people were able to print and distribute music.

Baroque Music

The Baroque period of music history happened about the same time as the Pilgrims, exploration, and colonization (1600-1750). This was the same time period that the American colonies began. During the Baroque era composers wrote much more instrumental music and non-church music. The first versions of the modern orchestra were started. Composers also started writing operas and oratorios.

Classical Period

The Classical period of music history happened at about the same time as the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Age of Enlightenment, about 1750-1830. During this time composers started writing string quartets, sonatas, and orchestral symphonies. More instruments were added to orchestras. Also, the modern piano was developed and popularized during this time.

Romantic Period

The Romantic Era lasted from about 1830-1900, about the same time as the Industrial Revolution. The music from this time featured intense energy and passion. Composers tried to express scenes from real life in their music. Musical rules of the past had to be rethought and changed to support new ideas of writing music. New musical developments included tone poems, descriptive overtures, major symphonies, dramatic operas, and virtuosic piano music.

Twentieth Century and Beyond

This era of music history began about 1900 and continues through today. Composers during this time tried to be radical and different, and rebelled  against some of the established musical ideas. So, new styles and forms of music developed. Classical music composers included ideas from jazz and folk music into their new music. This era also includes music for film scores and video games.

If you want to know a little bit more about music history, check out

Do you want your own copy of our Music History Eras chart? Download it here!

5 Reasons NOT to Sign your Child up for Music Lessons

5 Reasons your child should not take music lessons
5 Reasons your child should not take music lessons – These may not be what you expect!

Thinking about signing your child up for music lessons? Private lessons, or lessons at school? Think again! Don’t get me wrong – I am all for kids learning music. I am all for kids taking music lessons. But, if any of these reasons apply, you might need to rethink your plans.

1. Do NOT sign your child for music lessons just to fill up his after-school activity calendar.

You know how it goes – Monday: full; Tuesday: 3:30-Chess Club, 4:30-karate class, 5:30-hmmm, don’t have anything scheduled there, let’s see…piano lessons, that’s it.

2. Do NOT enroll your child in music lessons if you, the parent, have no interest or desire for your child to actually practice.

I had a lady tell me once that when her daughter was young she signed up for French horn lessons. The mother couldn’t stand to listen to her practice, so she would tell the girl how wonderful she sounded, and that she didn’t need to practice anymore. Needless to say the girl did not continue with music for very long at all.

3. Do NOT sign your child up for music lessons if you do not intend to make sure she shows up prepared for her lesson each week.

That means that you (parent!) have to be sure she has a reliable way to get to the lesson, that she brings her music with her, that she brings her instrument, and that she has practiced at least some during the week.

4. Also, do NOT start music lessons if you aren’t willing or able to provide an instrument for your child to practice on.

Hey, I know instruments can be crazy expensive, but there are ways to reduce some of the expense. Rent an instrument. Buy a used (functional) instrument, look for listings for free pianos. Give your child a chance! Supply him with a functional instrument.

5. Finally, do NOT enroll your child in music lessons if you have no interest in long-term commitment.

Just like sports, music is not mastered in a semester, not even a year! Be willing to commit to a long-term process and stick with it! Don’t let your child quit the first time he faces a challenge. Persevere!!!!

Have anything to add to my list? I would love to hear your comments! Be sure to check back next week for Reasons Why Your Child SHOULD Take Music Lessons.

And check back in a couple days for some info on music history and some music theory basics!


Welcome to A Music Mom – Music Lessons

Hi! Welcome! I am excited to share with you what I have learned about being a parent of a child (or more) taking music lessons. I have been a music student, a music teacher, and a child of music students, so I can relate to what you are dealing with.

Do you ever wonder if your child should really be taking music lessons? Or, once you started music lessons, do you wonder what you have gotten yourself into? Is all this extra time and money going to be worth it? Will this drain you of your sanity? I’m here to help you figure this music lesson stuff out!

Are you completely ignorant about learning music, or how to help your child learn music? I’m here to help you with that as well. We’ll explore some basics about music history and composers you should know (some of the ones who wrote the music your child will be playing). We will also look at some basic elements of music theory. After all, music theory has to do with how music is put together. The more you understand, the better you can learn to play your music.

I will also give you some tools along the way to help you and your child in this adventure called music lessons.
Check back on Monday for 5 Reasons NOT To Sign Your Child Up For Music Lessons!

See you soon,