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Hints and Helps

The office of the teacher is to encourage, inspire and enthuse the pupil in his work.—E. A. S.
 
The cause of musical education suffers greatly because harmony and counterpoint are not more generally studied.—
 
It will not do for the teacher to be dull and uninteresting during the lesson. It is better to crystallize important points into pithy phrases which will stick in the pupil's memory, and exert a moulding influence upon the bent of his study.—T. C. Jeffers.
 
Counting aloud may be generally dispensed with after accuracy is well grounded, but to be used whenever needed to assist in analyzing difficult rhythmical passages, and to furnish a test as before mentioned.—H. H. Johnson.
 
Nervousness and failure—nine cases out of ten—is attributable to inassurance, and this evil is traceable to inability, which again is caused by a hap-hazard and unsystematic style of practicing, or by application in the wrong direction, and being told what to practice and not how; they have neither guide nor method, leaving everything to chance.—Franklin Sonnenkalb.
 
True skill consists, not in correcting, but in avoiding, faults. But such an avoidance can be acquired only by a very slow and frequent practice.
 
Young pianists and organists should cultivate the practice of improvisation. To improvise is often to arouse the creative energies, and by this means sometimes powers of composition are awakened, which would else have slumbered through life.—George T. Bulling.
 
Suggestive teaching is that which instead of telling the pupil the thing he has to learn, leads him to find it out. Pestalozzi says, "let the child not only be acted upon, let him be made an agent in his own education." " The mode of doing this,'' he says, (p. 148) " is not by any means to talk much to a child, but to enter into conversation with a child; not to address to him many words, however familiar or well chosen, but to bring him to express himself on the subject; not to exhaust the subject, but to question the child about it, and let him find out and —correct the answers."
 
Exclusively slow practice will spoil the playing. It takes the life out of the music. It must, then, be alternated with two other degrees of speed, in the proportion of, say six slow, six moderate and three fast, and so on, over and over, until one learns the passage. This is not a rule; it is merely an indication of the proportion necessary to be observed, in order to secure accuracy, without sacrificing the musical quality of the playing. And it is in the almost total neglect of this kind of practice that pupils in general may find the reason of their poor success.— W. S. B. Mathews.
 
It is allowable for a performer to betray, in a very slight manner, his innate feeling for the music he is interpreting. A turn of the head—a motion of the wrist—of the eyebrows—will often serve the audience as a key to the nuances of the piece. I have seen virtuosi, who owed half of their marvellous command over their audience to an eloquent and graceful physical carriage, and to the expressive play of their features. The strongly-marked personality of a performer has much to do with success in concert; and when once the audience is brought under this magnetism, the music almost seems to proceed, as it were, from the performer, rather than from the instrument itself. But this is no excuse for the contortions and writhing whereby many players seek to express their feelings. Angular elbows, head-shaking and undue tossing of the hands should be avoided.—S. C. Jeffers.

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