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Let Us Recognize Music in Our School Histories

By C. Nearing 

[Editor’s Note.—The Etude has long been interested in the campaign to gain wider public recognition for music, and has urged its readers to lose no opportunity to induce others to give it that recognition. We have recently written to a number of publishers of school histories requesting them to give the matter serious attention.]

History is a record of progress. The writer has carefully perused a number of the more important school histories now in use, and music, if one has only these to refer to, has been of no importance to the development of modern civilization. Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture occupy from fifteen to twenty-five pages in each volume, but no mention whatever is made of the art of music. When we consider the very important place music has at all times held in the social and religious life of all nations, this neglect seems not only needless but culpable. It may well be believed that the absolute ignorance concerning musicians and the growth of music so prevalent among many otherwise cultured persons, is due to this carelessness or stupidity on the part of our historians.

It is almost generally conceded that music not only occupies a place nearer the hearts of the people, but exerts a more subtle influence over them than does any of the sister arts. In the ancient world music was a matter of grave deliberation and legislation, and in our present day it would seem that its economic, if not its intellectual and spiritual importance, should give it a place on the pages of the world’s history. Teachers everywhere are making efforts to further an interest in the history of music by influencing their students, and by organizing clubs. Let us hope, however, that the time is not far distant when the writers of school histories will see things with a broader vision and will give to music the share of attention that it so obviously deserves.


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