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Enthusiasm; Energy; The Only Short Road To Success; The Divinity Of Music.


Enthusiasm, when it is sincere and reasonable, is a splendid thing, and for one who is in for long and hard study it is almost necessary, if he would do well. For those who feel no enthusiasm in their study there is lacking the bright, inviting side which makes the student so hopeful and so willing to work. One must work with energy, with life! One must love to work. Nothing in this world accomplishes so much as perseverance, health, energy, and enthusiasm. Regularity in all things leads to the best results, though the habit is a hard one to acquire. Meals, study, recreation, should all be regular, and one should never be slighted for another of them. These things do not seem to matter much from day to day, but if your habits are all regular you realize how much faster you go ahead. Every one who studies music has it in his power to advance music, if ever so little. Feel that you can and will help it along on the right road, for it needs a great deal of pushing. In contending with so many substitutes, it almost needs to fight its way. Get into the spirit of music, keep well, think of good and noble things, and they will appear in your work.

It is time wasted to practice without energy, in a heavy, sleepy, or desultory manner, or with a perfunctory spirit. Make your work a part of yourself, and do always the very best you can. Then though you work but a short time each day, the minutes will tell. It takes brains to make an artist. Even talent, without brains, can not be developed. The minutes are so valuable, and so much time is wasted in the wrong direction, that there is no excuse for dallying when one is on the right road.

Christiani tells us that it takes talent, emotion, intelligence, technic, to make an artist. “What, then, would be the result if one or more of these four requisites were wanting?” We might add, it also takes time. Anent “emotional expression without intelligence”: ” Listen to sentimental lady performers, overflowing with emotion, or to the nervously sensitive, or to the immature musician, imagining himself to be esthetic. Mark how they proceed by fits and starts, accenting always violently and generally in the wrong places, torturing you with sudden and uncalled-for changes from fortissimo to pianissimo, with out-of-time playing which they believe to be rubato, and with most exaggerated efforts, which, no doubt, spring from their inner feelings, but with which the mind and understanding have nothing to do.”

We have all seen such players, and we know that we do not care to be like them. Graduates from conservatories of music and pupils of quack teachers flood the world with such playing; and so many people are impressed with the physical gyrations involved that music, pure and undefiled, looks to them queer and uninteresting in comparison. Intellectual playing without emotion is infinitely superior and preferable, although “Distinct but distant; clear, but oh, how cold!” A combination of the two is needed to produce artistic results. Emotion colors intelligence; intelligence clarifies emotion. Talent, intelligence, and emotion are natural gifts, and, with technic added, what is there that one can not accomplish? But the attainment of technic depends upon will—a strong, determined will, which utilizes even adversity to its own ends. I think that in a lifetime every human being should accomplish some noble work, the spirit of which will live to propagate new strength and new endeavors in. the world. If one would become a pianist, let him decide to be a first-class pianist, and to make piano playing a life study and of life-long interest. Begin your task with the spirit of investigation. Discover your own capacity, which should be equal to a real, artistic ambition, and work to make your ability its equal. Discover the possibilities of the piano in artistic hands, and rest unsatisfied until you have brought them out. Do you not think you will be much better satisfied with yourself for having done one thing well than if you had failed to perfect anything, as so many do, simply because they are always looking for short cuts to success? That way is not to be found, unless it is in correct work. Certainly incorrect work is a waste of time and talent, because it accomplishes nothing; and yet students are willing to spend from six to ten years at it, expecting at the end of that time to be pianists of the first order.

It requires patience to think carefully; and so correct work, which requires thought, is harder than incorrect work, which requires practically none. But the more you think, the more quickly you will reach the goal; and certain it is that by concentrated efforts one may greatly shorten the road. But brains make the only possible royal road to success, not by discovering new ways of getting there, but by quickly understanding and carefully working.

Musical literature covers a field of genius, intelligence, and emotion which, it seems to me, can be equaled by no other literature in the world. Hardly a thought which the mind of man has conceived but has been focused and set to music. Music suggests everything. A man of letters spends year after year, a lifetime, in the study of books, and so filled with the thirst for knowledge is he, that whole libraries yield their contents to his investigation. His passion is books, and through them his mind becomes broadened to an understanding of the vastness not only of the world’s history, but of the range of human thought which conceives beyond things tangible. It is where thought takes a leap beyond the humanly definite scope of ideas that the language of music is needed to express it. Music suggests all that is subtle and divine to the imagination, and even when it appeals most vividly, one knows that a thousand minds interpret it differently. Think, then, what a kingdom of riches lies within the musician’s grasp. And the keynote to this kingdom is a perfect technic. ” Music is well said to be like the speech of angels.” “God is its author. He laid the keystone of all harmonies. He planned all perfect combinations, and He made us so that we could hear and understand.”


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