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The Most Music for the Most People

Few people would know of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), the famous Engilsh (sic) jurist and publicist, father of the Utilitarians, were it not for his well known principle, “the greatest happiness of the greatest number.”

The Etude has urged this principle in the development, of the Music Week idea in America. It is certainly one of the vital factors in the success of any popular movement. Too much of the great effort spent in getting up Music Weeks in the past has been given over to events which are heard by a very small section of the population of the communities or to programs which have a very microscopic appeal. If Music Week has any value whatever it should reach out to inspire every soul in the commonwealth.

We have just returned from a delightful walk up and down the business sections of Chestnut and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia. Art week has been in progress for seven days. Every shop window deserving a fine work of art has been provided by the city Art Committee with a beautiful creation in the way of painting or sculpture. Think of it! Five miles of art galleries right on the street. Hundreds of thousands of people have passed and have seen these wonderful paintings and sculptures. The whole aspect of this section of the city has been changed. New interest has been given to the lives of those who have passed these windows.

What if this art collection had been segregated in a few galleries or studios? The inspiration would have been only a fraction of that which has come through bringing art to the people right on the highways and byways. If art is needed at all here is where it is needed most. The method of education which brings “the greatest happiness to the greatest number” is unquestionably the best. In our music weeks let us have the most music for the most people.

The Wrong Street

Many music teachers are upon the wrong street and never realize it until late in life.

The right street is a very important matter in the fate of every one of us.

Large retail mercantile concerns operating chain stores employ men to stand at busy street corners checking up the number and kind of people who pass.

By such means the possibilities of success are more scientifically determined.

We know of one man who for years has struggled to succeed in a New York studio building. He is a fine musician and a really worthy person; but he has none of the savoir faire which makes for success in the circles in which he aspires to succeed. His language is unpolished; he is careless in his dress and his habits are those which make for failure in a great city. Moved to a smaller town with less conventions he would probably have been a very great success. As he is, he is a disgruntled failure. He is on the wrong street.

Another teacher, located in the outskirts of a great city, struggled correspondingly for success, but was unable to get beyond a certain stage of progress. The reason was that there was not enough business in that district to warrant the effort. With a little more expenditure of capital in room rent and advertising and good clothes, this same teacher moved to a music center and met with success. It was merely a matter of getting on the right street.

It is never too late to move to the right street. If you are convinced that location is one of the things that is keeping you back in life, if you feel that certain restrictions are being thrown about your efforts which are keeping you back unjustly, if you feel that your future is mortgaged to certain interests which will never give you your just due, you have only one course. Find it out as soon as possible and move to the right street.

We have known of teachers located in institutions who have been kept down by the jealousies and, worse yet, by the selfish commercial interests of others. The wise conservatory manager is he who is just as anxious to promote the progress of his individual teachers as the success of his business. The teacher who is on the wrong street often frets most of his time away without making any particular effort to make an advantageous change.

Thousands of people who have failed to rise to any considerable height under certain conditions, have bettered themselves immediately under others.

Change is always a serious matter and should be inspired by conviction and regulated by caution. If you have not the initiative to make a change when you are firmly convinced, after long, unbiased, serious study of the situation, that you are on the wrong street, you do not deserve the opportunity that may be on the right street, and you would probably fail if you had that opportunity.

The Value of Friends

Some music students do not seem to appreciate the value of friends in life. Real friends are difficult to find and precious beyond the gold of Golconda. The man who measures his wealth in Arabic numerals is often one of the most miserable paupers in the world. Put it down that “money does not buy real friends.” The rich man without real friends is a pitiful object. The poor man with loving friends, even though these friends be themselves poor, is blessed.

How then are friends to be got and held? There is only one way, and this is by being genuinely, deeply and sincerely interested in the well-being of your friends and then making some genuine sacrifice of something you really value in order to prove your friendship.

Friends cannot be bought with sycophancy or with flattery. They cannot be bought with mere entertainment. They cannot be bought with position or power. Many a politician has had hundreds of frightened, sniveling, cringing, grafting henchmen, and not a solitary friend.

Some musicians have an unfortunate way of setting themselves apart from the world. They build up barriers of suspicion and smallness which literally shut out those who most desire to be of service to them. They deplore the solitary misery which this brings to them, but do not make an effort to end it.

There are literally hundreds of musicians who could succeed if they had enough friends to be interested in their work to help them. Enthusiastic admirers who have great and real confidence in the work of a teacher are always that teacher’s best advertising medium. Indeed, if you cannot create this garland of sincere friends, you may spend a great deal of money in printer’s ink without any return whatsoever. One of the finest teachers we know in a large Eastern city, has a very small clientele not because of any lack of musical or educational ability but largely because he has never cultivated the habit of trusting others and making them his friends.

To have friends, you must first of all learn to see the better side of others and condone weaknesses. Many are without friends because they are too exacting; they look for perfection. If they were criticized themselves as they criticize others they would be highly indignant. If you wait for gods in order to make friends, you will spend a very lonely existence. See the beauty in the frailty of human nature that calls for a brother or a sister. Your friend needs you most when he is in trouble. You must learn to forgive your friend’s weaknesses as well as admire his virtues.

To have a friend—first be a friend.


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