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In another month a number of young men and women will be graduated from the scores of schools and conservatories of music of this country. It is not possible to say what proportion of these grad­uates will take up the profession of music-teaching, but probably quite a number. The query may well be raised as to how far the course of study now almost finished has prepared these young persons for the profession of teaching. We doubt if anyone will maintain that the usual course of piano-study is in itself sufficient to prepare to teach. We all recog­nize that something more is necessary. Yet in spite of this opinion, now generally accepted, but few in­stitutions have remodeled the course of study adopted perhaps a number of years ago. The school that offers a “Teacher’s Certificate” ought to give a course of study to fit the pupil for teaching. The school that will be on a par with modern ideas and methods should not lag behind in this respect. If a graduate is conscious that he has not had special instruction in teaching, he should secure it at one of the summer music schools that are being carried on in different parts of the country. Don’t begin to teach without some special training.

* * *

Some time ago Mr. Robert C. Ogden, managing partner of the Wanamaker New York store, gave a talk on advertising in which he said, among other things: In the competitive race to-day you must: First, have something that people want; second, let the people know that you have it.

These principles apply to the teacher of music as well as to a man in business. The musical season is drawing to a close and teachers can begin to go over the work they have accomplished, and consider what they shall do in the short time remaining and during the vacation to increase their business in the next season. The first principle suggests the thought that if the present location does not offer a large enough field a teacher should seek a new community where he has reason to believe a large-enough num­ber of persons are interested in music to give him support. Do not offer fine musical advantages to a community that is content with little. There are doubtless places in which you need not do much missionary work.

But aside from that, suppose your location be satisfactory, save that you have the national feeling that you would rather have a “waiting list” of pupils than yourself to be waiting for pupils to come to you. Then go over the ground with the second thought: Let people know you have what they want. You may have used some means; there are others that are legitimate. You are known to the people of your community, become better known, socially as well as in a business way; it may not hurt you even to show definite interest in municipal affairs. You may have found your pupils’ recitals as well as your own a good means to advance your interests. Study their weak points and strengthen them. You may have membership in a literary or club circle; show your best points there so far as your profession is concerned. Keep in the public eye by honorable and legitimate means; do not refuse to play when called upon, publicly or privately, unless too much time is demanded. Let all your statements be ac­curate and temperate, and make no claims that you cannot substantiate; so that the public learns to know that what you say can be relied upon. There is no reason why an intelligent musician cannot de­vise ways to advertise himself that will be as effect­ive and in keeping with his profession as those that the business man uses to draw custom.

* * *

A prominent singer, in an interview recently, said: “Yes, I was a pupil of ——, but I had much to learn after I left the studio, and much of my success has come from my own work since my student-days. My teacher did not do for me what I expected.” This kind of spirit, in a vocalist or instrumentalist, is very unjust. The teacher rarely expects to turn out a finished artist. That would discount the value of maturity and place the student of twenty on a par with the one thirty years of age. The real work is that of self-development, when the student begins to build for himself on the broad, solid foundation laid by the experienced teacher. How can individ­uality be developed except the pupil contribute a share? If the teacher is to do most of the work, independence cannot be developed in the pupil. The whole scheme of a careful, practical musical educa­tion is to the end that after the student-days are over the artist begins to show himself, worked out by his own efforts. Therefore it is essentially unjust for a musician to deprecate the work of his teachers because later he found it necessary to supplement that work. His development was not due to his own efforts only, it was in good part owing to a carefully started growth.

* * *

At the convention of the Southern Music-Teachers’ Association last year a committee was appointed to communicate with the presidents of the Southern colleges in regard to several questions, among which we particularly note “the advisability of establishing a regular circuit of concerts which shall enable the music-students to hear good artists and the college to secure such artists at a very reasonable figure.”

Theatrical managers have found it advisable to form combinations, and music-schools may well do so. The institutions in a certain section of the coun­try will find it very profitable to work together, thus forming a compact circuit, reducing railroad fares to the artists, and giving them successive en­gagements. A circuit of this kind can also be ar­ranged by musical clubs either separately or in con­junction with colleges, the particular aim being to secure the best artists at the lowest figure.

In addition to the advantages cited the organiza­tions connected with such a circuit will have a fine means of increasing the interest of the local public in good music. They will form closer social and professional relations, and while a legitimate com­petition will always exist, there will be less an­tagonism than before.

We commend this effort to those of our readers who may be in position to follow suit. The directors of schools of music and conservatories should be alert to take advantage of every means to increase the attractiveness of the work of their institutions. They can afford to study conditions as carefully and closely as the man of affairs studies his business.

A suggestion has been made by one who has had considerable experience in the teaching of theory and history of music in schools. It is that the work be placed on the same basis as the other work in the schools. For example, pupils in American or Eng­lish History are given close drill in the subject, are asked to make abstracts, to carry on independent in­vestigation, and additional reading for a thesis or essay, thorough “quizzes” are conducted, etc. The History of Music is worth just as careful and broad study, and the most successful class, in point of in­terest on the part of the pupils and in respect of permanent results is the class that is up to date and works on the line of the most approved methods.

In Theory of Music also the work should be such as to make the pupils independent; much use of the blackboard, continuing the work of another pupil, never omitting to give the reasons for writing a certain chord in a certain position. Theoretical work to be of the best value must develop and promote the habit of thinking, and especially independent thinking. We cannot give value to study that does not bring about mental discipline.

* * *

Spring, the beginning of the physical year, marks the closing period of the teaching year. The renewal of the manifold activities of Nature should act as an incentive to both teacher and pupil to approach the close of the season with unflagging zeal and enthusiasm. It is, perhaps, but natural that all should at this time experience some sense of fatigue and consequent diminution of energies; nevertheless, all this may be overcome by some slight use of the will and by renewed application to one’s duties; and in this the physical season sets us an admirable ex­ample.

Both teacher and pupil should strive to close the season with a flourish and to make, if possible, this portion of the teaching year the most successful in effort and fruitful in result.

This is also the time for rounding up and polishing off, as it were, the season’s work. Both teacher and pupil should take account of stock in review of the past and in preparation for the future.

The effort of the teacher should be directed toward finishing effectually the work already accomplished and clinching its results. The teacher should care­fully review his own work, seeking for possible short­comings or omissions which may yet be supplied, and sedulously working over the ground in preparation for the work of the coming season. In all this the teacher should seek the earnest co-operation of the pupil, since it is to the advantage of both.

At this time also the best of fellowship should be cultivated between teacher and pupil, each mutually striving toward the desired end, each looking for­ward to the work still to come with pleasurable anticipations.

Let there be no anticlimax, and let the final term of the year be its pleasantest and most profitable.

* * *

A word of suggestion, based on a quotation from Winston Churchill’s novel, “The Crisis,” has value at this time, when so many musicians—teachers, players, and singers—are taking up the pen to address them­selves to a larger circle than the class-room and the studio can furnish. Oftentimes the message is a valu­able one, but is clouded and vague in the telling.

“The importance of plain talk cannot be over­estimated. Any thought, however abstruse, can be put in speech that a boy or negro can grasp.”

In addition to this we would say that, the more thorough the understanding and mastery of a subject the writer or speaker may have, the easier it is for him to express his thoughts in clear, simple words. Anglo-Saxon words are generally briefer, and also preferable to Latin and Greek derivatives. After an article has been written it is a good practice to see to what extent one may replace words from Latin by others from Anglo-Saxon roots.

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You are reading Editorials from the May, 1902 issue of The Etude Magazine.

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