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Editorials

 editorials_header.jpg“The Generous Profession” 

Musicians are for the most part notoriously generous. There have been a few who seemed to have their pockets lined with fly-paper; but you will find a great number who are “generous to a fault.” Some are hopelessly and foolishly improvident with their generosity. They sometimes carry their giving to a reckless extreme and find themselves impoverished in their own old age.

Calve, in her interesting autobiography, “My Life,” says: “Practically every one of my comrades supports a number of dependent relatives or unfortunate friends. It is considered a disgrace to allow any member of one’s family or clan to go uncared for, no matter how distant the connection may be.”

We have known most of the great artists of our time and we have often marveled at their lavish generosity. One famous singer told us once that she actually was supporting no less than twenty-one dependents. Often the dependents are little better than loafers or beggars. We have known of some instances where they were actually plotting against their benefactor or abusing her for failing to give them more money.

We feel a little proud of the fact that musicians are generous. It means that they value human quantities, both good and bad, more than they value money. With all their improvidence they stand just a little higher in the scale than those to whom the chief joy of life is in holding on to every last cent and diverting it to selfish gratification of personal aims.

***

A Prize Contest Worth While

Last month when we announced a prize contest upon the symposium, “The Ten Great Musical Masterpieces,” in which twenty-six famous musicians, representing twelve countries, participated, we were careful not to mention a money prize, as we did not want to make it mercenary. We shall publish the winning article of from 2,000 to 2,500 words, and we shall pay for it precisely as though it were written by one of the foremost musical writers of the day, who regularly contribute to The Etude. The prize is far more than money. The winner can not help adding to that precious something known as “reputation.” For this reason, we were anxious to secure judges of the highest standing in the musical world. Full particulars of this contest, which closes on September 1st, 1924, were given in connection with the Symposium last month.

The judges who have consented to honor The Etude upon this occasion are:

Dr. Leopold Stokowski, Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Mr. Felix Borowski, Director of the Chicago Musical College.
Mr. Harold Randolph, Director of the Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore.
Dr. Frank Damrosch, Director of the Institute of Musical Art, New York.

One hundred and twenty dollars an hour is the price which one teacher with crowded classes is said to be receiving now. Gee whiz! Twenty-five years ago we had a sneaking feeling that we were committing grand larceny when we asked five dollars a lesson. Music lessons are going up like dollars in Berlin. Of course the reason is “supply and demand”—a venerable teacher of great fame with whom violinists everywhere are clamoring to study largely for “the name.”

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Methods or Madness

“Now” said Jack Hopkins, “just to set us going again, Bob, I don’t mind singing a song.” And Hopkins incited thereto by tumultuous applause plunged himself at once into “The King, God Bless Him,” which he sang as loud as he could, to a novel air, compounded of “The Bay of Biscay” and “A Frog He Would.” The chorus was the essence of the song, and as each gentleman sang it to the tune he knew best, the effect was very striking, indeed.”

Thus at Bob Sawyer’s unforgettable party did Charles Dickens write the recipe for the Futuristic Music of to-day into “The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club.” Surely many of the inane jumbles we have heard sounded like a “free fight for all hands.” Some, we have been convinced, were inspired more by method than by madness. They have impressed us as the ballyhoo of composers incapable of attracting public attention in any other manner.

Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, Cyril Scott and a few others in Germany, have made scores that have employed new musical pigments, new designs, unconventional, though none the less beautiful. But much of the other futuristic music we have heard has sounded to us more like a license given to the performers to “play the tune you know best.”

Can it be that the King of Siam, or the Sultan of Turkey, or the Rajah of Wotnot or whoever it was that preferred the tuning up of the orchestra to the regular program was right, and that we who have gone on eagerly admiring the gorgeous tone tapestries of Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Wagner and Brahms, are wrong?

***

Character and the State

“Character is the only secure foundation of the State.”

—President Calvin Coolidge.

Our President made this historic utterance at his famous address in New York city, when he stated his intention to let nothing stand in his way to prosecute any one who had assumed a public trust and had proven a traitor and a craven in failing to guard the sacred responsibilities which such a trust imposes upon all.

We rejoice in the “granite integrity” of our President, confronted as he is with one of the most disgraceful governmental scandals that has ever stained our national honor. God give him strength to prove to the world that “Character is the only secure foundation of the State,” and that the character of the great body of the American people stands for honesty to the last drop of the nation’s blood.

The Etude is particularly interested in our President’s famous phrase, because it emphasizes the work which we were permitted to suggest in what has now become nationally known as “The Golden Hour” ideal. This plan of teaching character as a part of the regular work in the public schools and teaching character with a wonderful stimulating background of music, was never more necessary than now. Music inspires; and when the child mind has the problems of character and the principles of right-living presented to him with the inspiration of music, an indelible impression is made.

The Character of the United States of America tomorrow will be the character that we teach our children to-day.

What is of greater importance to you than this?

Every day make it a part of your life work to insist upon this until the schools of your city have a regular program of music and character building. Thousands of schools have already introduced this in their work. It is your job and your responsibility to see that the “Golden Hour” plan is introduced in your schools. Never mind the name. Call it anything. The main thing is the principle.

The city of Philadelphia has at present, in General Smedley D. Butler, “The Fighting Quaker,” a chief of police who attracted national attention in a day. All honor to him and to his drastic methods of rooting out crime. But, at the best, General Butler and all like him correspond to “swatters” in a campaign to get rid of flies. He can capture a few criminals and imprison them, but in order to clean out the breeding places of crime, we must begin with the education of the mind of the little child.

Ten thousand General Butlers can never safeguard the State in the future, unless we all start to-day to lay the foundations of character through training our children at home, in the church, and in the “Golden Hour” periods in the public schools.

 

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