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H. W. Greene, Editor Vocal Department of The Etude

H. W. Greene, Editor Vocal Department of The Etude:

Dear Sir.—Referring to your three questions touching the subject of a vocal congress, I would answer to the first: Yes, an exchange of ideas upon any subject which concerns a great number of people is always a good thing, if that exchange of ideas is the result of a universal or general desire to arrive at the most final conclusions. For these reasons a congress of the vocal profession is desirable.

As to the second question: The principal object of a first conference should be to consider the expediency of limiting the acquirements and general educational attainments which ought to be necessary for a professional vocalist; in other words, to circumscribe the vocal profession by a wall of legal defense against all sham and false doctrine, and prevent from teaching or practicing those who have not qualified for the work.

Thirdly, a good list of topics would be, perhaps: ”Can a course in vocal music be defined similarly to a course in law or medicine?”

“Should the power of granting certificates be delegated to the schools or to some organized national body?”

“Should certificates be granted for life, or should they be limited and graded?”

“What qualifications shall be necessary for an examiner, and by what process shall he be chosen?”

It might be wise, however, previous to any attempt to arrange a conference, to consider the obstacles, if any, and of what nature, which may stand in the way of the success of such an attempt. It may be found necessary to pursue a course of suasion, in order to favorably incline individual members of the profession to confer upon their many and diverse methods and views. The vocal art resembles quite closely in many particulars the science of medicine, and musicians might profitably take a lesson from the doctors. They have their conferences over special cases, and meet regularly in Association, and the foremost practitioners endeavor yearly to take a course in observation at the leading hospitals.            J. P. K.

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