Research: Professor Lilla Belle Pitts

| June 30, 2011

Research: Professor Lilla Belle Pitts

Lilla Belle Pitts (1884 – 1970) was born in Aberdeen, Mississippi. She excelled at the piano, the violin and singing as a child. In 1907 she moved to Chicago where she studied at the Chicago Conservatory of Music. From 1910 – 1914 she taught music at public schools in Amarillo, Texas. From 1914 – 1921 she taught music in Dallas, Texas public schools. Pitts also taught at Grover, Cleveland junior high school in Elizabeth, New Jersey. In 1935 Pitts received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University. In 1938 she became a professor of music education at Columbia University. Pitts was an extremely successful and popular professor. She had progressive ideas about teaching and was an advocate of student centered teaching. She believed that music could be used to improve communication and understanding between different people and cultures. She believed music education could better society. Pitts worked hard to create a curriculum that integrated music with other subjects. Pitts was elected to vice president of MENC (National Association for Music Education) in 1938 and became president of MENC in 1942. She faced the tough challenge of being president during World War II, but she encouraged everyone to embrace music during this tough time. She retired from teaching in 1962.