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The "Married Woman" Pupil

By Maggie Wheeler Ross.
Some one must teach the married woman pupil. Who is there among us brave enough to specialize on this somewhat unpromising class of students? For unquestionably if we would have the full measure of success with them, some specializing process must be adopted. In every community is found a goodly number of ambitious married women who have faced poverty and deprivation in their youth, who were the oldest members of large families, denied the privilege of music lessons, but who have married fairly well, and want to make up for lost opportunities.
The musical departments of women's clubs nearly always furnish a large band of these women: bright, intelligent and anxious to "do something." Many have come up from the ranks of the working classes. They know the world and desire to appear well, and could be induced to study for the polish and tone musical ability will give them in the community. The married women who studied in youth and "gave up music" for the frivolities of young ladyhood are not few in number, and may easily be persuaded to renew study after being settled in a home and released from the distractions of many admirers. Indeed, such women are liable to feel the monotony of too much idle time, and readily take to the idea of renewed music study. They have the further incentive of pleasing and entertaining a new-found husband, and are therefore the most satisfactory and interesting pupils among this otherwise uncertain clientèle.
There is no doubt that the number of married women who study music has increased greatly within the last few years. The labor-saving inventions of the household and the universal habit of buying ready-made garments have contributed towards giving the married woman a great amount of leisure. Some of the prominent clubs are offering prizes for married women only in their music departments, and many other things are tending to stimulate the interest of married women along musical lines. Mothers are awakening to the fact that they should know something about music for the sake of their children. By far the greater number of enthusiastic attendants at the symphony concerts are housekeepers, with wide-awake, sympathetic minds, hungering and thirsting for broader lines and wider spheres.
"Married women" pupils are more ambitious than juvenile pupils. They are fully awake to the lost opportunities, and work harder and with better application and concentration. They will have more pride in presenting a well-prepared lesson, and are far more earnest in their labors. The average child takes lessons only because the parent is behind him, while the married woman studies only because she wants to, and usually regrets that she has not more time in which to practice. She goes to her instrument with zeal and enthusiasm born of desire, while in too many instances the child is driven by a parent or guardian. There is more real companionship in working with this class of pupils. You can discuss concerts and artists, compositions and musical affairs with them, and it will stimulate their work and broaden and keep alive your own interest in things musical, besides giving you the joy of musical fellowship. You can go into detail and explain more to them what you are doing at the lesson periods, and this is an especial pleasure in teaching, but something that ordinarily should be avoided when instructing the child. The maturity of mind and thought makes it possible to give them advanced work earlier in proportion to the number of lessons taken, and therefore the interesting stage of teaching arrives sooner. The present-day married woman is usually in charge of a certain portion of the family income, so the question of remuneration is secure. They generally want more lessons and longer periods than the child pupil, so the income from them is greater, and it is also true that a parent who is considered sane and rational on other subjects will insist 011 cheap music lessons for her child, but will ordinarily be willing to pay a good price for her own first lessons, merely 011 the theory that she is grown up.
The greatest obstacle to overcome in the teaching of the married woman lies in maintaining interest. She is so beset by outside attractions and inside duties it is always a fight to keep alive the desire for results. Furthermore, progress at the age of the average married woman pupil is necessarily slow. If you can encourage them to look ahead for from three to five years, instead of at the Now, you will be sure of holding your pupil. The average married woman who seeks musical culture can claim at least two hours a day to herself. If you can make her see this as six hundred hours each year, eliminating Sundays and holidays, and encourage her to look ahead a year for results, the battle is won.
Another great obstacle is the slow physical advancement compared to the mental comprehension. The muscles are stiff and unpliable, and the hand is not quick to obey as is the case with children. You must therefore be at all times a living well of inspiration and encouragement if you would tide them over the periods of musical despondency, which are certain to come to them with provoking regularity. You will also find them timid about appearing in public, and usually unable to acquit themselves at all creditably when they do because of this fear, but their daily training as housewives accustoms them to failures, and they quickly overcome the disappointment coincident with such appearances, and go to work again with a fresh resolve to conquer. However, you must seldom rely upon them as display pupils. Use your young talented pupils for this sort of thing, and depend upon your married women for good, steady, plodding work, with few spells of flightiness or "temperament." You must expect them to want to stop lessons when house-cleaning time comes in the spring, preserving time in the fall, the holiday season in mid-winter, and the summer vacation period. It will be up to you to keep them sufficiently interested at these times to induce them to keep on. These seasons must be anticipated, and the "quitting" avoided and forestalled by prompt action on your part, such as can be accomplished by a fresh supply of music, a series of home musicales, a few good concerts, or a side-course in musical literature and lectures. Something that will bring them to the realization that culture is more important than the ever-perishing trivialities of the work-a-day world. Help to show them that the sensible women of the world to-day are the ones who live the simple life in all directions, and who have not the time for ceaseless house-changing, and gown-fixing or hair-dressing. Teach them to make their music first, after the actual necessary duties attendant upon the home and family.
You must adopt a different method with the adult beginner than you use with the child on account of the maturity of the mind, for it is universally conceded that mind governs finger action. They need more technic to limber up stiff joints and train unruly fingers. Ordinarily they enjoy the purely technical work and do not grumble over it as does the child. If you are careful to explain the whys and wherefores of each exercise, its particular purpose and the results to be obtained by its use, letting them always understand each to be a means to a special end, you can keep them interested. It is always good judgment to let mature-minded persons know where they stand. Scales should be given very early, after a little preliminary thumb-training, for the mature mind readily grasps their construction. It is well to go genuinely into the theory of the scales, their relationship, development and construction, and even their history, for the study is thereby made far more interesting and entertaining. While work with the young child is always more or less mechanical, with the adult it can be largely mental.Teach the scales through one octave in every key, around the circle of fifths; then begin again with C, progressing through two octaves, adding triad chords and arpeggios, going all around the circle. Start again and take them in thirds, sixths and tenths, contrary and octaves. Then add dominant and diminished seventh chords and relative minors. For finger drill for the adult who is a pure beginner fine results will be had with Aloys Schmitt, Op. 16, Presser Ed.; teach the transposition of the keys for drill on the black keys and change of hand position, using same fingering as 011 the white keys. For pupils who are further advanced there is nothing better than the "Little Pischna," Presser Ed. Later you will find splendid drill in Czerny Forty Daily Exercises, Op. 337, and finally the Gradus. It is poor practice to use an instruction book with the adult beginner. With scales and technic use studies by Loeschorn, Op. 65; Heller, Op. 47, Presser Ed., and work into Czerny, Presser Ed., edited by Emil Liebling. After a few months' study introduce one or two of the Clementi sonatinas, followed by Kuhlau, working up to Mozart sonatas. Insist upon each selection being thoroughly learned; adults do not tire of their work as does the child. Give carefully selected pieces from time to time, but you will find the adult pupil usually prefers to put time in on technic and studies until able to handle pieces that are worth while, and this is really what they ought to do. However, among Bohm, Lange and Lack a good many fine finger-drill pieces can be selected which are really worth playing and studying.

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