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An Apt Illustration.


A striking illustration, sharp, to the point, and pertinent to the question in hand, will often do more toward the correction of an error or a wrong method of practice on the part of a pupil, than anything else. I often come across pupils, as I have no doubt is the case with other teachers, who persist in guessing at the time of a composition, instead of carefully analyzing it, measure by measure, and counting the time as they play. Such pupils will count during the lesson, when the teacher compels them, but, when they practice privately, they depend entirely upon their ears for the time.

When I come across such a pupil, I usually use an illustration somewhat as follows:

“Suppose you were to go into a dry-goods store to buy a dress. Having told the clerk you would take 12½ yards at 18 cents per yard, and 13 yards of trimming at 37½ cents per yard, you handed the clerk a $10 bill and sat down to wait for your parcel and change. Now suppose the clerk, instead of carefully measuring the goods, should be too lazy to hunt up his yard stick, and so simply reeled off what he thought was the amount called for by guess, after which, without making a computation of the amount, or the required amount of change, he should go to the money drawer and grab a handful of loose change and then, bringing the goods and uncounted change, should deposit them in your lap, what would you think?”

The pupil invariably replies that he would think that the clerk was crazy, and that he would notify the proprietor of the store that he had an idiot in his employ, at the same time refusing the goods and change. I then call the attention of the pupil who will not count to the fact that he is every bit as foolish as the clerk when he tries to learn a complicated piece of music without counting, after having carefully studied out the time division of the various bars. The illustration rarely fails to have a deep effect, for if you once succeed in convincing a pupil of his own stupidity in his own mind, he ceases to sin in the same way a second time.

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