Thaddeus Bolton and the First Dissertation in Music Education

Document
Description

Thaddeus L. Bolton, a graduate student in psychology at Massachusett's Clark University who received a Ph.D. in 1895, appears to have written the first doctoral thesis on a topic closely

Thaddeus L. Bolton, a graduate student in psychology at Massachusett's Clark University who received a Ph.D. in 1895, appears to have written the first doctoral thesis on a topic closely related to music education. The thesis, titled "Rhythm," predated by a few weeks a music education dissertation written by John J. Dawson, a graduate student of education at New York University. Bolton's dissertation describes an experimental study of the reactions of thirty subjects to sounds occurring at different speeds and intensities and with different durations and patterns of accentuation. Bolton's work on rhythm, which appears to have been among the earliest in music by an experimental psychologist, influenced Iowa music supervisor Philip C. Hayden, who applied some of Bolton's finding to his teaching. Hayden's desire to share his applications with others led, in large part, to the first meeting (19907) of what became the Music Supervisors National Conference.