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Stick to the Classics

If you think that you can increase the size of your class and your popularity as a teacher, by lowering your standard to the popular trash of the hour, you will be sadly mistaken. At a superficial glance one would think that the teacher would do the best who gave his pupils what their musical appetites craved, whether it be the latest "rag-time" song or the last jingling two-step, just as the merchant succeeds best who gives his customers exactly what they crave whether he thinks it best adapted to their needs or not. In music, however, this principle does not control, for the teachers who have the largest patronage and who achieve the largest success, even from a financial view, are those who utterly refuse to let down their standard, and force their scholars to learn what is best for them. A man who kept a boarding-house for young growing people, and who served up as a regular bill of fare apple-pie, chocolate cake, ice-cream, pickles, soda-water, and marshmallows, simply because these articles seemed to be what his young boarders craved, would inevitably lose his business, because the young people would lose their health, would stop growing, and would present a puny, sickly appearance.
Just in the same way the teacher who feeds his pupils on the sickly sweets of popular music, because they ask for them, will surely lose his business, because his pupils cannot show progress on such a regimen, and will not become musically strong and healthy.
Another thing; popular music has not the power permanently to interest and develop a growing musical mind. In my own experience I have tried both methods. I found that the pupil who was allowed to play popular music principally—with its trite, mawkish, sentimental phrases—would soon tire of his lessons, fail to practice, and soon give up, whereas the pupil who was educated with the great things in music, the compositions of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart, with their infinite variety and boundless interest, always became permanently interested, and was content to study year after year, continually searching for new pearls in the great ocean of classic music.
I can recollect in my own acquaintance a number of really excellent teachers who have failed to succeed as much as was their due, simply by unbending too much to the craze for popular music, and I can remember others with not half the ability who succeded, (sic) simply by keeping their pupils at work on the classics.

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