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Pedagogues, European and American.

In the United States the opinion prevails that Euro­pean (more especially Ger­man) teachers are necessa­rily possessed of uncommon attainments. In Europe, more especially in Germany, it is the general belief among pedagogues that we have no good teachers in the United States. Here are two curious facts; and it must be admitted that they deserve more attention than they receive.

It is a great mistake to imagine that it is simply a combination of ignorance and egotism which has led German teachers to misunderstand and under­estimate us. Their opinions, though unquestionably incorrect, are based on long experience; and their experience of American pedagogical methods (or, to speak more correctly, of the attainments of American students) is too often of a kind to reflect discreditably on the American teacher.

It may be said without the slightest hesitation that it is not the inefficiency of the American teacher which has placed us in a position so entirely false. We are judged, on the other side of the Atlantic, by the numerous American students who flock there every year to receive the “finishing touches” to their musical education. These students, it is almost need­less to say, represent in no degree the character and worth of our musical educational methods. The ma­jority are utterly incompetent, or even wholly un-talented, young people, who have never been a credit to their American teachers. Many such students do not even consider it an advantage to study seriously in their own country; and after frittering away sev­eral years of valuable time at home they insist upon going to Europe to obtain those “higher” educational advantages which, they are taught to believe, are denied to them in the United States.

Under such circumstances it is only natural that German pedagogues regard us as a musically be­nighted people. It is also perfectly natural that their self-esteem should increase with each year, even as their contempt for us increases yearly. They, too, as well as we, have facts to guide them in the formation of their opinions.

But how comes it that the average American con­tinues to entertain so high a regard for the German pedagogue? It seems incredible that we, who are in all other matters a sensible and practical people, should continue to remain so blind and stupid where German musical training is concerned. Of what use are facts to us so long as we disregard them? Every year teaches us anew the lesson that German training is a remarkably inferior article. Many of our most gifted players return to us less competent than when they went abroad; few attain, after years of German training, that excellence which should be the reward of talent and industry.

This is, indeed, a very grave question. It concerns us deeply, and should no longer be waved aside. Many American parents have already learned, to their cost, how serious a mistake it is to send their children abroad. But the great majority are unin­formed, and blind to European imperfections. It is for the benefit of these that we shall have more to say on this subject in the future.

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