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The American Violiniste At Home.

It is more particularly at home that the American girl,   attempting to study seriously, falls short of reasonable expectations. Despite musical gifts and serious ambition, she is too apt to fritter away her time, bestowing on the merest commonplaces of life an energy and interest which, applied to her studies, would enable her more quickly to reach her goal. At home her environments—resulting either from circumstance or unwisest decisions—are hardly calculated to foster love for art, or train her mind to dwell upon work with sufficient continuity. And, what is more serious, she either cultivates a fine scorn of the possibilities of home-study or regards her work, her surroundings, her progress, as something quite pitiable in comparison with the higher musical life which soon she will enjoy in the Fatherland.

Briefly, the American girl still follows in the footsteps of a vast, music-loving multitude which, through long custom, continues to trail in the path of a former necessity, reluctant to throw off European bondage and boldly assert its musical strength and independence. That such glowing hope of a future musical life abroad should influence the American girl to the degree of distorting her views of musical advantages at home is one of the gravest results of this deplorable Europe-worship. At home she feels that little is expected of her; and her self-exactions are feeble in proportion with her misapprehension. The music she hears, and the artists by whom she is surrounded, shrivel in worth and significance at the mere thought of the superiority of art and artists which she has been led to believe is a distinguishing feature of all German musical life. Resignedly, instead of in a spirit of just appreciation, she pursues her desultory studies in a field of (to her) hopeless inferiority. Her work is colored by no element of sympathy—by no admirable zeal to be worthy of the conditions in which she is placed. It sinks to a degree of mediocrity that shames her natural gifts.

When the American girl leaves home and friends for that far-away country of golden musical hope, she little realizes that the relinquishment of customs and comforts inseparably associated with her life will cause a gap for which no “Gemuethlichkeit,” no sincere hospitality, can amply make amends. Though accustomed, perhaps, to no actual luxuries, she has never suffered the discomforts of a slow-progressing civilization in things appertaining to the material life. In the Fatherland she has many repugnances to overcome,—republican sentiment and feeling to reconcile with autocratic restrictions and repressions. These are wholly new experiences which, affecting her happiness quite seriously, enter into almost everything connected with her daily life. In a word, this new life abroad is not the lovely bed of roses conjured up in dreams; and the American girl soon finds that she has made many little sacrifices unreckoned with before her eager exodus.

 

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