Band Traditions and Musical Education in Puerto Rico:
Precedents, Overview, and Impact
Juan L. O’Halloran
This article briefly assesses band traditions in Puerto Rico across the span of multiple historical periods. The work also examines the correlation and impact these bands, as well as the musicians who participated within them, have had on musical education on the island and abroad. Early 18th and 19th century ensembles are presented as antecedents of modern bands through the use of historical documentation, letters, and descriptive accounts. Meanwhile, the 20th century band traditions that immediately follow as aftermath of the Spanish-American War are also examined, such as the Puerto Rico Regiment Band. A connection between island band traditions and those of the U.S., is also presented and assessed, such as the Municipal Band of San Juan and the Harlem Hell Fighter’s Band. Finally, the creation of the Escuelas Libres de Música (Free Schools of Music system), its educational band programs, and the direct impact these institutions have had (and continue to have) on contemporary music education in the island, is reflected upon. A direct lineage between these multiple band traditions is established, and from it, the importance of band ensembles as music education institutions is proposed.
bands, Puerto Rico, tradition, music education, history