How to interest children in work which will improve them is a subject of no little study, not only to mothers, but to teachers who have the advancement and development of young minds in charge. The responsibility which rests upon teachers is very great; indeed, almost as great as that which falls upon the mother. A paper of rare interest was read by Miss M. B. Prosser recently before the Mothers’ Union, of Kansas City, part of which will prove helpful. Miss Prosser said in part:
“We sometimes meet those who are well informed, who can converse beautifully of the authors, past and present, and of art, and yet have a very vague idea of even the old masters of music. To them Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven form a mythical, hazy trio and are responsible for some equally hazy music. That they lived a long time ago, were great composers, and were German, of course, they know, but as regards their lives and works and the meaning of or difference between a symphony or a sonata, for instance, they have no very definite understanding, and this uncertainty and sometimes indifference makes it impossible for them to hear music in its highest sense. We are prone to listen too much with our ears and not enough with our minds and hearts.
“The lives of the composers form a beautiful portion of musical literature. It is most necessary that a pupil by way of preparation for studying and hearing a composition should have a knowledge of the master. His heart should first be touched with many interesting facts about when and where he lived—some act of kindness, striking characteristics, his purpose and aim in his works, and special service of the world.”
Miss Prosser had been asked by the ladies of the union for a list of books beneficial in the study of music. The following were suggested:
“The Child’s Music World” (Tapper).
“Music Talks With Children” (Tapper).
“The Story of Music and Musicians” (Lacy [sic] C. Lilly).
“Young People’s History of Music” (Macy).
“The Wagner Story-Book” (Frost).
“The Story of the Rhinegold” (Anna A. Chapin).
“Musicians in Rhyme for Childhood’s Time” (Crawford) .
“The Musical Journey of Dorothy and Delia” (Gilman).
“Melody” (Laura E. Richards).
“The Story of Major C. and His Relations” (Grace Duff).
“Music and Youth” (Derthick).
“Chat With Music Students” (Tapper).
“Thoughts of Great Musicians” (La Mara).
“Word (sic) [N]otes Wild,” notations of bird-music (S. P. Cheney).Etude Magazine. May, 1901