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Fifty Galloping Horses

The measure of mechanical energy is horse power.

The greatest thrill of motoring is the consciousness of power, the feeling that one has twenty, thirty, forty, fifty galloping horses ahead, tense on the bit, pulling one out through the world at the command of the brain.

The consciousness of power! That, perhaps, is also the secret of the world’s achievement,—especially in music.

Directed brain power—or if you choose to call it by a shorter word—will has, in late years, become the net of charlatans always ready to sell to the public some expensive method for developing this energy by some secret process, which just gets past the Post Office Inspectors.

But it is all so simple, so easy. We all know that we have latent forces and it is largely a matter of stimulating our imaginations to realize them, to develop them, to make them do our will.

Perhaps your mind, up to the time of reading this print, has been a poor, tired, weak, old, broken-down one-horsepower and you have never realized it. You have always unconsciously pitied yourself for the lack of opportunity, for your health obstructions, for lack of capital, lack of social connections, anything to excuse your lack of success. Meanwhile, your greater horse-power has remained latent, undeveloped; dwindling away like a little stream which, if dammed up by the will might develop a horse-power of amazing force.

Of course, in music, as in everything else, staunch health is an immense asset; but even your health, to a very large extent, depends upon your will and upon your determination to harness your life to those beneficent forces which lead upward instead of downward.

Consider for a moment the case of Chopin. Here was unlimited mental and spiritual musical force harnessed to a poor, hectic body, tearing it through life like a runaway horse, but nevertheless accomplishing marvels in tone.

Think of Wagner—physically almost a dwarf, but with a gigantic horse-power which pulled his genius to the loftiest heights of Walhalla.

Think of Schumann, Beethoven, Weber—all fighting for a great part of their lives.

Is it poverty that is holding you back? Think of Mozart, Schubert and hundreds of others who, despite poverty, have attained immortality.

We have repeatedly seen one-horse-power musicians who, by quickening their minds to a realization of the great fact that the consciousness of power comes through grasping the reins of the imagination and controlling the God-given forces within themselves, have developed to become men and women of surprising force, character and accomplishment.

Do you work as though you had at your command fifty powerful steeds ready to carry you to your life’s goals, or do you work as though you were lolling back in a rickety one-horse chaise?

Just to know, to feel that you have these forces within you, that you can begin to pick up the reins and control them in one direction, is one of the great joys of existence.

Let any one laugh who chooses. Thousands of successes have been due to the same consciousness of power, well directed and employed through right and just means for the welfare of others. We have seen this happen so many times in music it has the quality of an axiom to us.

Time and again we have witnessed some obscure music worker living amid discouraging conditions, come to the point of awakening his energies through the recognition of the fact that in the past he has used only one-horse-power, instead of the infinite forces that the Almighty has given him.

Regenerating the Race Through Music

With minds elevated to higher thoughts, the wonderful inspiring force of Music will lead to a regeneration of the race along nobler lines.

Notwithstanding the fact that Dr. Haweis wrote one of the most interesting of books in the literature of Music called “Music and Morals” (which by the way has very little “morals” in it) we have never been able to agree with the emotional folk who have made themselves believe that Music by itself has a moral value.

Music is moral only when it is associated with noble, elevating ideals, words or actions. Then its importance in the human drama is transcendent. But Music by itself is like Fire, Water and Electricity, enormously valuable when properly used, but disastrously destructive when not properly used. Music may be used to degrade, as it is used in brothels all over the world. But when it is associated with men and women and children under conditions enabling them to absorb the beauties of the art without any degrading tendencies, its value is infinite.

The mind saturated with the best music has very little cerebral space for unworthy, degrading thoughts. Naturally it turns toward higher things and that is perhaps the great human advantage of the best music whether it comes to you via a great symphony concert, the point of a phonograph needle, the voice of some great prima donna, or the audion of the radio.

In the Golden Hour plan of character building in the public schools through specific instruction and inspiration with a background of beautiful Music, thousands and thousands of children are now being led toward higher standards of citizenship. Music seems to have a value almost miraculous in intensifying the child mind. Without Music such a period as the Golden Hour would be as tedious as a cinema picture shown without music.

Raising Our Professional Status

Recently at a meeting of experienced teachers the question was brought up, “WHAT CAN WE DO TO RAISE THE STATUS OF OUR PROFESSION?”

One of America’s most experienced and distinguished authorities on musical education replied in the following direct and convincing manner:

“The factors of foremost importance in raising the status of professional music teaching in America are:

“That which will lift and dignify the calling.

“That which will make music more of a necessity as a factor of education.

“That which will create a greater love of music by the public at large.

“That which will make music a necessity in every home.

“What is it that will bring about this condition?

“It may be a combination of several things, such as:

“Better pay for the music teacher.

“Getting rid of the “pin money” teacher.

“Proper credits for music work in Public Schools.

“A National Conservatory of Music.

“More Public School education in music.

“The music supervisor of the future.

“But that does not answer in the present case the question of the greatest need. We must know what is the greatest factor, the greatest force, that will bring the above condition about. In my opinion it is this:

“It is the quality of the force, the brains in the profession, on which everything depends. If the music profession is such that no one but mediocre people will enter, you cannot expect much from it. I say this in all kindness and in no spirit of criticism.

“A calling cannot rise above its disciples and devotees. The stream cannot rise above its source. The strength of the whole structure depends upon the pillars that uphold it.

“The music profession has no limit to which it cannot rise. It can become the most desirable, the most remunerative, the most dignified of all professions; more even than the profession of law, or medicine, or the pulpit.

“The music profession has made the greatest progress of all professions. In Haydn’s day musicians were classed with other family servants. Even in Liszt’s day the chalk line that divided the guests from musicians was not removed.

“There are callings that are held down by natural barriers, such as the barber’s (which was once held in quite high esteem), the skilled entertainer’s, such as jugglery, legerdemain, etc.; these callings cannot rise above a certain height.

“There is a magnificence about music which no other profession possesses. It reaches heavenward. If it has any barrier it is that special endowment and rare gifts are required to rise to great heights.

“Therefore, the greatest need is very obviously that of raising the personal equipment, the ideals, the enthusiasm and the standards of musicianly attainment and scholarship of the rank and file as well as of the great leaders in professional work. Everything depends upon the character, the education, the individual force of the men and women who adopt the profession of music.”

The Age of Music

The world-wide awakening in Music is, to our mind, providential. The hand of the Almighty is certainly in this. Civilization has been passing through a reign of terror which makes the French Revolution seem like a back-alley fight. Following it, like a choir of Angels of Peace, has come music,—music all over the world.

Music is one half of the inspiration of the hour. Every day brings new indications of the world-wide awakening in music, here are just a few:—

New York Street Cleaners celebrate Music Week by having an immense concert and sing in a New York City Armory.

Danish Pianist named Philipson makes a successful tour of the Holy Land, reporting that he finds good music schools, string quartets, and an appreciative public.

Ketchikan, Alaska, sends in a program of the Community Symphony Orchestra Concert, not the New York Symphony or the Boston Symphony, to be sure, but a really interesting program.

The Russian Opera Company recently touring the United States played in Tokyo to a very appreciative audience.

Harvard Glee Club tours Europe with enormous success, singing compositions equal in difficulty to those sung by the Vatican Choir, and astonishing European critics.

These are just straws showing the advance of the world in music.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are annually spent for music in the United States. Considered merely from the standpoint of an industry, its importance is immense.

To our mind the greatest value of Music is providing inspiration and refreshment for everybody in as abundant a manner as possible. This means music in every home, via performers, singers, talking machines, player pianos, radio, everything.

Then comes music in its educational sense—its value in training the mind has now been recognized by great psychologists everywhere. This may be done in a measure by hearing good music, but is never fully recognized until the individual has learned to play some instrument or has learned to sing correctly.

Then comes Music in its economic sense, its combination with industry and civic events, the usefulness of which is now recognized by our biggest men from coast to coast.

Finally and most significant of all is music used in connection with day-school work, to stimulate the child to higher ideals through some such plan as “The Golden Hour” so often discussed in The Etude.

We want our readers to know that after a careful survey of the musical field, we sincerely believe that the opportunities in music are greater to-day than ever before. There is far more future in music for the young person now than there was twenty-five years ago.

Surely, we are on the threshold of the Age of Music.

 

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You are reading Editorials from the September, 1922 issue of The Etude Magazine.

The World of Music is the previous story in The Etude

Mischa Levitzki - Getting a Start as a Virtuoso is the next entry in The Etude.

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