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A Question.

BY ELLEN ROBBENIA PAUL.

The advice to singing students by Mme. Louise Homer in The Etude for February impels me to say a word in regard to American singing students in Europe.

It is the natural ambition of students to go to Europe; but what is the object or idea in going? Do they have a definite idea as to what they are going for? From my association with the student colony in some of the largest cities of Europe, I should say they have not. Naturally there are exceptions.

One of the first proofs of this is in the number of students we find in Paris and Berlin studying with American teachers. I am not depreciating the American as a teacher. Far from it; but if one is going to study with an American he need not go to Europe to do so; there are quite as many good American teachers in America as in Europe; and if one wishes to study American methods with American teachers, America is the place to find it in its purity; and if it be German or French methods that one wants, Germany or France, with a native teacher, is the place and way to get it.

We cannot reasonably expect an American, after but a few years’ stay in Paris, to give an interpretation of a French song with good diction as a French person could give it. As diction plays such an important part in the French school, as it should in all schools of singing, it certainly behooves a pupil to make the best of his opportunities.

Some will say, I don’t like French voice placing. Then do not take it, but stay at home until you are in a position to go abroad and to profit to the fullest measure by the untold advantages to be derived; for if one masters French diction it is infinitely easier to sing both German and English.

If a student should want good English he or she certainly would not think of going to a foreigner in America for it; then why go to an American in Paris for French or in Berlin for German?

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You are reading A Question. from the July, 1906 issue of The Etude Magazine.

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