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What Thought Can Do


There is a great deal of grumbling about the drudgery of learning the piano. Teachers complain that pupils do not like to practice; and pupils shirk, as much as possible, the irksome task of repeating, day after day, the same “disagreeable” scales, arpeggios, and other finger exercises. But intelligent thought can make even drudgery attractive, can make these same exercises take on a new phase each day.

The great players, whose perfect execution many would like to imitate, were not all geniuses—if by genius is meant one who acquires his skill without effort. These artists not only worked and took infinite pains, but found this work attractive.

The old time teacher says, “Practice this until you know it”; but does not tell the pupil how to do it. The pupil finds the unreasoning repetition of the same thing terribly irksome: the same faults reappear and new ones creep in; he gets discouraged, and small blame to him.

But explain to a child the process by which a short passage may be made perfectly accurate and easy to do, and finally to express something, and the child, making use of his reason and reflection, will become interested.

The powers of the mind must cooperate with the physical efforts, and then students will become so absorbed in their work as to relinquish it with regret and return to it with pleasure.


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You are reading What Thought Can Do from the July, 1898 issue of The Etude Magazine.

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