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Reform Needed.

While music occupies a high position in the minds and hearts of many people, there can be no denying the fact that it is looked upon with disregard, not to say contempt, by many more. The reason for this cannot be laid to the art itself, but the conduct of many of its votaries is such that people are led to sneer at the profession they represent. Just as many people reject Christianity because there are hypocrites in the churches, so they make light of music because some musicians are not what they should be. If music ever attains the position of dignity and respect in the minds of the people that it ought to occupy, several reforms must be inaugurated. These reforms must begin in the house of its pretended friends. Music must be freed from some abuses that are altogether too common.

First, those who make music their life-work must learn that they must be true men and women in character. Because some geniuses in the past have been lionized on account of their genius and in spite of their moral laxness, others have concluded that they would not be regarded as great unless they were also notoriously immoral. The fact is, the world is coming to a higher standard of morality every day, and what would be winked at twenty-five years ago will not be suffered now. What would be condoned in a Byron will be weighed and found wanting to-day. Nor will it be excused in a man because he pretends to be an artist. If music is to be held in high regard in this closing decade of the nineteenth century, musicians must look well to their morals and their manners.

Another thing that serves to place music on a low plane in the minds of many is the fact that musicians are regarded as narrow. They are too often men of one idea. They are hobbyists—cranks. Does one play or sing with more than ordinary ability, then he rests content with that alone. He can do nothing else, he cares for nothing else. If you engage him in conversation he can only talk about his specialty, or, rather, about his special self. Musicians must learn the necessity of being broad if they would have the public look upon music as worthy of thoughtful and serious consideration. If to be a musician is synonymous with being narrow, then we may expect contemptuous treatment from the world for music. It has come to pass that even farmers, mechanics, and artisans take their course of college training, shall less be expected of one who expects to make the “art divine” a life-work?

Again, there must be an improvement in the mutual relationships of those who follow music. Have you ever known one singer who aspires to public recognition that would say a kindly word about another singer? Have you ever read in the papers where one pianist or violinist wrote a eulogy upon his fellow-artist? Did you ever hear tell of a pupil who went from one teacher to another who was told that his instruction so far had been just exactly right, and that he had been well taught?

But it may be said that envy and jealousy are common to mortality, and not peculiar to the musician. The statement may be somewhat true, yet so long as the world at large looks upon the musical craft as more than ordinarily guilty of these things, there must be some special grounds for the conviction, and the profession cannot expect to be looked upon with that distinguished consideration that we all should earnestly desire.

May the time speedily come when being a musician shall be synonymous with being a true, pure, broad, cultured, liberal man or woman.—Music Messenger.


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