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Perseverance

ALFRED VEIT.
 
Mr. John D. Rockefeller is reported to have said recently, that "there is no quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even Nature."
 
These golden words ought to occupy a place of prominence over the instrument of every aspiring pianist. In moments of discouragement they will prove of the utmost value and assistance.
 
While perseverance can never replace certain natural defects in the make-up of a musician, it will neutralize, to a great extent, the void existing by reason of these deficiencies. Even absolute pitch, which has hitherto been considered one of the requisite qualifications for a musician and unattainable unless a gift of Nature, according to the authoritative claim made by Dr. Jadassohn, of Leipzig, can be acquired through perseverance. This is not the place to inquire into this question. The fact remains that, coming, as it does, from so high an authority, the subject merits further investigation.
 
As a rule, artists reveal few of the secrets pertaining to the drudgery of their profession. The majority of them delight in pretending that their talent comes to them through divine grace. Antoine de Kontski, for instance, always maintained he never practiced. (The absence of a piano in his apartment seemed to lend some truth to the assertion.) Not so Paderewski. Again and again he has declared that much of his playing is due to hard work. Strange to say, these revelations have had absolutely no detrimental effect upon the success of this exquisite artist as far as the general public is concerned. The average individual, as a rule, seizes the opportunity only too willingly to cry: "Pshaw! that is not genius, it is the result of hard work."
 
In connection with this subject, the writer recalls a conversation with Paderewski illustrating perseverance. The great pianist declared that before playing the etude in thirds by Chopin in public, he had practiced it every day for two years without interruption.
 
The average pupil imagines he does all that can be expected of him by rushing through the entire set of etudes by Cramer in six months. The example of an artist as great as Paderewski wrestling with a single etude by Chopin for fully two years ought to serve as a splendid illustration of what may be attained through the efforts of perseverance.

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