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Creed of the Well-Taught Pupil.

1. I believe that the composer knew what he wanted in the way of tones; therefore I will play exactly what he wrote, so nearly as I can.

2. I believe that the bar is intended to show the place of the strong pulse; therefore I try to place the accent upon the tone written next after the bar.

3. I believe good rhythm is at the very foundation of music; therefore I will endeavor to keep an even time, without hurrying or slackening. And if any differences in movement are to be made between the easy and difficult parts of a composition, I believe that as a rule the more difficult parts should go more rapidly than the others, inasmuch as they indicate greater intensity, and perhaps bravoura.

4. I believe that music is essentially a message from the composer; or a picture painted in tones; in short that it represents the ideal in tonal forms; and therefore I will try to play it as if I knew what the message was, or as if I had the picture in mind. In other words, will play it with expression.

5. The foundation of playing with expression is to make a piece sing, and when I play I will try to sing with fingers, and help out their singing with discreet use of the pedal.

6. I believe that the pedal may be used at any place in a composition where the effect is improved by so using it. These places will be where, there is a tone of melody to be held after the fingers are taken off it (in order to do something else), or where it is desired to improve the resonance of the pianoforte.

7. When I haven’t any reason for using the pedal I will leave it alone, for few things are more objectionable than the absent-minded lingering upon the pedal which we often hear from badly taught students.

8. Inasmuch as music is a message, or a picture, from the imaginary world of the ideal, it follows that there must be great differences in the quality of pieces of music, according to the nobility and purity of mind in composers, and according to the especially noble mood of a great composer at the moment of writing some choicest work. And it shall be my endeavor to know as many as possible of these pieces of music best with knowing; and when I know them, to play them with all possible appreciation and in such a way as to induce my hearers to love them and enjoy them.

9. And since musical playing is the object of my study, I will esteem all kinds of technical exercises and studies according to their value in making me more and more master of the resources of the instrument, to the end that I may fitly interpret music worth knowing. Music.


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