Committee Chair

Lee, William


Dept. of Performing Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


This thesis examines transitions of music education within the Church of God (COG), Cleveland, Tennessee. A Pentecostal denomination with its roots in the South, the COG uses a rich mixture of musical styles derived from regional culture and shaped by its religious outlook. Since education occurs in any social institution, and since the COG has the highest percentage growth rate of any Protestant denomination, it is important to research the development and effects of music teaching methods used in what has become a highly influential organization. In its earliest stages, the COG was the focus of persecution due to ignorance and hatred. As the Pentecostal movement gained national recognition through the Asuza Street revivals in Los Angeles in 1906, however, the COG moved into an era of acceptance and growth. Prior to this music was taught in an oral/ aural tradition derived from the poor white Southern Appalachian culture from which the COG received much of its early membership. As the church continued to grow, pulling converts from the middle class, members became more educated. This rise in education coupled with the growing popularity of a new type of music, gospel songs, made conditions ripe for the COG development of singing schools using shaped notes. The singing school trend continued until the 1960's at which time social upheaval, higher educational opportunities, and a proliferation of round-note church music publications aided in the decline of the singing schools. For a time, music education was left primarily to the public schools until the COG developed an organizational structure designed to teach music to all age levels of the church. Although music education is at a higher level of quality than ever, it appears that a greater number of members are not involved with the musical process in the church as compared to the time when singing schools were popular. In conclusion, it seems clear that teaching musical heritage is a vital part of a comprehensive music program, whether in the school or the church. The evidence presented here also points to the strong advantage of an organized, unified system of music teaching. Understanding past methodologies and approaches can improve music education today.


I would like to thank several people who gave of their time and knowledge generously to assist in the completion of this thesis. Dr. Delton Alford, Dr. Jim Bums, Dr. David Horton, Mr. Charles Towler, and Mr. Terrell Brinson were all encouraging as well as insightful during the time they allowed me to interview them. Miss Cindy Kilpatrick is an excellent editor who waded through numerous pages of draft. Members of my graduate committee, Mr. Anthony D'Andrea and Dr. James Stroud, were not only encouraging but proved to be very knowledgeable in the classroom as well. A special thanks to Dr. William Lee, my graduate advisor, who talked me into writing a thesis; it turned out to be a great experience. More thanks than I could possibly give go to my wife, Monique, who was supportive yet able to give constructive criticism and who edited every page whether she wanted to or not while I sat for countless hours at the computer. Finally, I would like to thank Jesus Christ. It was His grace that helped me straighten out my life so that I could finish college and pursue a graduate degree.


M. M.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Music.




Music--Instruction and study


Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.)


Music Education

Document Type

Masters theses




[ii], vii, 67



Call Number