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Observation

By Wilbur Follett Unger
 
ONE of the greatest assets in the equipment of the young music student is the cultivation of observation. By means of this faculty he can save much time and trouble in the correction of wrong notes, and can the more easily train his memory in the storing up of details. The majority of pupils are sadly lacking in observation, as I learned to my consternation and amusement when, some time ago, I tried a little harmless experiment with my class of pupils, the result of which proved both funny and instructive.

I placed before each pupil some time during his lesson a composition by Tschaikovsky, with instructions to note carefully the title, composer, key-signature and other details. A little later, before the lesson was finished, I asked the pupil to write upon a slip of paper the name “Tschaikovsky.” Evidently, the majority of the pupils tried to spell the Russian tongue-twister as they had heard me pronounce it, rather than from actual observation of the printed name, for, out of about thirty-five pupils, one only spelled the name accurately!
 
Below is a list of samples of the actual spellings:
Chicossti
Tchosky
Chykopski
Chicuffsky
Tchykoffski
Shcykousky
Chowkisky
Cshiekophsky
Thysowskie
Tschioskowsi
Chykofskie
Schychowsky
Chycofsky
Shikowskey
Schicrofsky
Chicoski
Tstaikowski
Tschikovsky.
 
These spellings were made not only by children but by pupils between the ages of 15 and 30, and none of them belonging to an illiterate class. The actual papers with names signed I still have in my possession, as a matter of curiosity.

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