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Defective Education of Musicians.

If the professors of music show any deficiency in dignity of mind, below other professions, the cause is less in the necessary devotion of their time to the acquirement of the technical and mechanical dexterity requisite to the practice of their art, than to the dissipation of valuable hours in other ways.

The education of a musician, as now conducted, but too commonly begins in severe labor and privation. In the present advanced state of knowledge, the difficulties of attainment, if smoothed by the pleasures incident to the progress of discovery, are yet so much increased by the superiority science has reached, and by the competition of so many more persons who are daily struggling for precedency, that real excellence in any one branch of art, is the result of a vigorous, continued, incessant application alone.

The rewards which music promises are perhaps as frequently the motive to adopting it for a profession as any real or supposed aptitude; and of the hundreds of persons now annually trained to music, perhaps there is a pretty equal portion of those who follow it from mere necessity or from some casual facility or excitement, and of those who take to it by descent, as it were. The education of all those persons is loose and vague. Some find their way to the theatres, more into private teaching, and but too many into the wretchedness of subordinates in every department. Few, indeed, are there who combine general knowledge with excellence in art. Upon such knowledge, nevertheless, depends all the estimation they can hope to enjoy in society, beyond the short-lived admiration which the exercise of particular talent immediately excites; all the estimation which gives solidity and value to the brilliancy of genius; all the moral rank, if we may so call it, which dignifies a man in society. Nor is the common neglect of general attainment at all wonderful, under the circumstances. The labor of practice is frequently relieved by some species of dissipation. The poor musician can find no better associates than those of his own condition, and while his sensibility is sharpened by his art, his taste occasionally awakened, and his manners improved by the good company into which that art casually introduces him, it is most probable he is only made to feel more acutely those deficiencies which he has not the means to repair. The polite and the informed who are induced to enter into conversation with him, discover at once that his recommendations are confined to his fiddle or his voice, and they quit him under that hopeless conviction; while he himself is doomed to experience forevermore the mortification of a neglect the more cutting, as he conceives it to be the effect of the insolence of wealth, or the hard heartedness of pride. Of his own defects, unhappily, it is a part of his portion of littleness to remain ignorant. He has no standard of comparison but those who are his equals in general circumstances and his inferiors in the one pursuit to which he owes his bread and his advancement. He is, therefore, surrounded by causes which lead him to erroneous conclusions, both with regard to himself and to others.

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