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Time For a Lesson.

BY CARL E. CRAMER.

The following schedule, which has been dictated by many years of experience, may be of some use to young teachers. It is, of course, applicable only to children of average capacity. For geniuses and blockheads, special rules must be made. Children from six to nine years of age should either take a lesson every day or have the assistance of a grown person while practicing. Instructions for children are simple enough to be readily comprehended by a grown person, and the object is to give the child the assistance of a matured mind in following the teacher’s directions. While some knowledge of music is of advantage, it is not absolutely necessary. It is, however, indispensable that the person shall be willing to give his full attention to the matter. Sitting by reading a newspaper, and looking up occasionally to see where the little one is drifting, will not do. This constant assistance must be continued until the teacher is satisfied that the pupil can and will practice properly without it. The time for children of the age mentioned above, should not exceed fifteen minutes, but they can practice that long twice or more a day if circumstances admit. The time can be gradually increased to thirty minutes within from six to eight months. Children from nine to eleven years should be started by daily lessons, or assistance, for from three to four weeks. Time, twenty minutes, to be increased to thirty within three to four weeks. This is generally sufficient to enable them to practice alone. Those of twelve years and over can be generally started with two lessons of thirty minutes each a week. Regularity is absolutely necessary, therefore the teacher must point out the importance of having regular hours appointed for practice, and of observing the time by the clock, and letting the child stop when the time is up. Half-hour lessons are quite sufficient for the first two or three years. The exercises for beginners should not take more than from eight to ten minutes a day, and must be compiled in such a way, that it will not take more than five minutes of each lesson to master them, while a general review should take place every twelve lessons. It is supposed that the pupil practices them in a different key every day, while the teacher hears some of them every lesson, thus going through all the keys in twelve lessons, and then having a general review to make the changes that may be dictated by progress made. It can be seen in this way about twenty-five minutes of each lesson remain for studies and pieces, which is entirely sufficient, as more will only needlessly overtax a child’s endurance. After some progress has been made, it is, however, very useful to induce parents to let pupils take one extra lesson every one or two weeks, to be devoted exclusively to four-hand playing. For advanced pupils who study larger works, the duration of a lesson depends upon the capacity of the pupil, as some comprehend more in five minutes than others do in fifty. The same is true in regard to the number of lessons, as some will do better with one lesson a week, than others will with one every day. Two lessons a week is, however, sufficient for the average pupil, and is also about as much as the average parent can afford.

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