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Why not organize a “Smatter Club,” its membership to be composed of persons who confess with nonchalant air, that they have just a smattering of this or that.

The trouble with the vocal profession is not so much that these smatterers are not useful in their way, but that they are not classified; they do not form a group by themselves of which the world can make estimate without injustice; they are unfortunately blended with the musical body politic and leaven the whole lump in a manner entirely unsatisfactory to those who pursue the work seriously and earnestly.

Music can be approached from three standpoints. (1) as a business; (2) as a profession; or, (3) as an art. Interdependent while they all are, the pursuit of either is worthy and cannot tolerate superficiality.

The musical man of business is constantly importuned to publish, at his expense of course, the gibberish that is handed in by sentimental persons, who, while they only have a smattering of composition would like to see their name on the title page and have a few copies to give to their friends.

The “Professor” spends more than half of his valuable time and strength teaching those who would like to have just a smattering of the vocal art that they may entertain an admiring circle of acquaintances, but who under no consideration would think of following music seriously.

The art itself suffers because by far the larger proportion of those who yearn and sigh and proclaim their right to kneel at the altar in the Holy of Holies are only smatterers, and too often enter, having removed neither hat nor sandals.

Who would deny any of these their narrow enjoyment of music; but why must the world remain so blind to the fact that there is a wide difference between persons that have been taken hold of by music, and those that take hold of music.

By all means let there be organized a “Smatter Club,” the members of which should be provided with a badge upon which shall be inscribed these words, “I am no musician” and sooner or later the world will begin to perceive the difference. If some one is heralded to sing, it will enquire, “is he a musician or a smatterer”? If the answer is, “he is a smatterer,” more than half the world will say, “Then I will hear him.” By this process it will be seen that the classification extends itself to listeners as well as performers. Above all things let us be honest in our hearing as web as in our performing and then—the millennium.

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You are reading Smatterers. from the July, 1906 issue of The Etude Magazine.

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