In ancient China, music, together with poetry, was a way to conduct political education. Reviewing music education in the Zhou Dynasty, the Confucian scholars before the Qin-dynasty unification of China at the time concluded that music could transform social and cultural practices, stir up one’s inner emotions, and cultivate a good character. On this basis, they developed a comprehensive Confucian theory of music and music education. Subsequently, both “music education” and “poetry education” became important subjects in the official school system, forming a key part of early Chinese ritual and music culture.
Music is what sages take delight in. It can cultivate goodness, move the people and transform social mores. That is why the past kings valued its role of education. (The Book of Rites)
Music touches people profoundly; its transformative power is rapid. (Xunzi)