Page images
PDF
EPUB

supervisory work must be done, and that it must be done by the besteducated, the keenest, and the wisest person obtainable. How to obtain the cooperation of employers for the apprenticeship period must be answered by the efforts of the school authorities and the supervisor. They must obtain it. There must be a propaganda or campaign of education by the former, and persuasion, personal work, and follow-up work by the latter. Widespread knowledge of the problem and intelligent and wise oversight and friendliness will secure it.

However, given the right grade of pupils, the wisest educational policy, the well-organized school, the right program of studies, the best equipment, and the most skilful teachers, even then the problem is solved for a chosen few only. Even the best can do only work of routine character, requiring little initiative. They work as machines and need a guiding hand. There will be others who cannot be employed in the industries, for their minds are not strong enough to do more than the most menial and most mechanical kinds of work. What shall be done with them? Shall classes and schools be maintained merely to occupy these children until, lacking the care of parents or relatives or friends, they become the criminals and outcasts of society? No. The state must assume responsibility. There must be a state policy, well carried out. The conception underlying the American educational scheme is that all shall be educated. If a child be ble to learn much or little, that should he learn. His leaming should be to some purpose. For the feeble-minded child that purpose must be self-support, if possible, even tho in the humblest manner. If society will not give him work, the state must. Several states have establisht homes for the feebleminded and colonies where farming is carried on by them under direction. This points the way. If the state may establish farms where custodial care and home comforts and supervised work are provided, why not factories, laundries, bakeries, and other institutions, where under like conditions those too feeble-minded to care for themselves may help carry the load of the state by earning their own way? This will be less satisfactory and less valuable than the life in the open, but it is necessary to help the feeble-minded.

In a democracy there must be not only equal opportunity but a measurable distribution of the comforts and blessings and happiness of life. The state seeks to protect all against ignorance, delinquency, disease, vice, and dependency. Her chief and most effective method is by education. Until all her people learn and recognize the moral law of "visiting the iniquities of the father upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me," she must herself attempt regulation and bear the greater part of the burden, receiving such assistance as the beneficiary may be able to render.

DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC

MUSIC EDUCATION

SECRETARY'S MINUTES

OFFICERS
President-OSBOURNE MCCONATHY, professor of music, Northwestern University, Evanston, III.
Vice-President- TERESA FINN, supervisor of music.

St. Louis, Mo.
Secrelary-PHILIP C. HAYDEN, editor of School Music.

Keokuk, Iowa

FIRST SESSION, WEDNESDAY FORENOON, JULY 3 In the absence of President McConathy, the Department was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by the vice-president, Miss Teresa Finn. Mr. W. B. Kinnear, of Larned, Kan., was appointed secretary pro tem.

The exercises were opened by the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" under the direction of Mr. Will Earhart, of Pittsburgh. Following this song Mr. Earhart read his paper, "The Essential Factors in Music Education.” At the close of this paper Mr. McConathy, president of the department, and Mr. Hayden, secretary, having arrived, assumed their respective stations.

After the reading of Mr. Earhart's paper the department sang a song by John A. Carpenter, “The Home Road,” led by Mr. Earhart. Then followed a paper by President McConathy, “In What Direction Is Public-Music Education Tending ?" At the close of this paper the department sang the song, "America's Battle Cry,” the words of which are by Mr. Congdon and the music by Mr. Earhart, under the direction of Mr. Gantvoort. Mr. Gantvoort then conducted a song, the music of which was written by himself, “They Go to End War.

President McConathy appointed the following nominating committee: W.B. Kinnear, Larned, Kan., Chairman; Miss Eunice Ensor, Detroit; and Miss E. Jane Wisenall, Cincinnati.

A general discussion of the proposition of teaching the various instruments, including piano, in classes, was participated in by Mr. Baltzell, of Boston; Mrs. Clark, of Camden, N.J.; Mr. McConathy, of Evanston, Ill.; Miss Teresa Finn, of St. Louis; Miss E. Jane Wisenall, of Cincinnati; Miss Eunice Ensor, of Detroit; Mr. Will Earhart, of Pittsburgh; and others. Another feature of the discussion was a reference to the remarkable work of Professor Carl Seashore in the psychological laboratory of Iowa University and the system for measuring music ability which he has developt and made practical.

Dr. William B. Owen, of the Chicago Normal College, gave a most interesting address on the subject of “The New Place of Music in Public School Education."

On motion the session adjourned.

SECOND SESSION, WEDNESDAY EVENING, JULY 3 President McConathy called the evening meeting to order and introduced Mr. Lee Hanmer, War Department Commission of Training Camp Activities, who gave a talk on "Music in the United States Army and Navy Camps.” This address was followed by an active demonstration of methods and practices in camp music by John B. Archer, division song leader, Camp Custer, Mich. Mr. Hanmer and Mr. Archer gave very interesting talks and demonstrations, and the audience took great pleasure in singing the songs of the camps under Mr. Archer's direction.

At the business meeting, which followed these addresses, Vice-President Teresa Finn presided. The chairman of the nominating committee, Mr. W. B. Kinnear, presented the following report:

President-Teresa Finn, St. Louis, Mo.
Vice-President-Otto Miessner, Milwaukee, Wis.
Secretary Philip C. Hayden, Keokuk, Iowa.

Mr. Hayden moved that the report of the committee be amended by substituting the name of Mr. W. B. Kinnear for that of Mr. Hayden as secretary. The motion was adopted, and the officers named declared elected. On motion the meeting adjourned.

PHILIP C. HAYDEN, Secretary

PAPERS AND DISCUSSIONS

THE ESSENTIAL FACTOR IN MUSICAL EDUCATION

WILL EARHART, PITTSBURGH, PA. We come before the world today with large claims for music. The results obtained are not always, however, commensurate with our claims. Is the reason to be found in music itself or in our conception and treatment of music ? I believe that it is the latter. Too much of our endeavor along musical lines is vitiated by imperfect conceptions of what music is and what its function is. Assuming that music has uplifting and redeeming power for the souls of men, to what element or factor does it owe that power ?

Many answers to this question, most of them carelessly made, have been given. Music has been said to knit up the raveled sleeve of care, expand the lungs, have therapeutic value in nervous and cerebral diseases, socialize the masses, develop patriotism, inspire courage, sustain the physical strength in prolonged endeavor, stimulate the minds of public-school children in their efforts at arithmetic and geography, restore discipline, comfort the wounded heart, inspire affection in the opposite sex, and energize the individual in the activities of life thru stimulation of his emotions. That music has all these results in some measure is probably true; yet, even if true, it is comparatively unimportant. Precisely the highest value which music can claim is not mentioned in this list, and it is to plead for this highest, so seldom striven for, so little seen, that I speak.

Never before has the world lived so much and so eagerly, even feverishly. We stimulate life's activities to the farthest limit; we strain to catch the faintest hint of meaning from its humblest circumstances. In this stress of life, emotion has in some measure been crowded out; and that measure which remained has been almost entirely such as is closely connected with the incidents of life. Art, following as always the adventures of man's soul, good or ill, has shaped herself into conformity; and the function that has fallen to her has been to express our emotional reactions to the specific circumstances into which life carries us.

It is curious, but a fact nevertheless, that man has a range of mood and emotion that lies quite outside of feelings stimulated by life's incidents. In these moods are found his aspirations, his visions, his purest and highest exaltations. The moods born out of experience of life are sharp, bitter, and exciting; the moods born out of this other range bring pleasure rather than excitement, and an uplift of spirit that, while it lacks the snug comfort of worldly sentiment, has infinite regenerative power for the soul of man.

This other world of feeling is, in one word, the realm of the aesthetic. The two are almost inextricably interwoven; but let us try to distinguish the aesthetic and define its character.

It is a noteworthy fact, as William Morris points out, that there has never been a savage so low that some vague idealistic promptings were not present to him. Not even an earthen cooking-pot could he make without endeavoring, beyond the demands of utility, to give it some grace of shape, some charm of color, some touch of ornamental design which revealed his obscure impulse toward idealistic ends. This impulse is quite beyond and above any worldly taint.

My objection to emotion, which doubtless all my hearers are making ready to defend, is that of itself it intensifies or energizes life but does not necessarily uplift it. I wish to emphasize that qualification, “of itself.” Important considerations depend upon it.

If music is to express emotion alone, then the beginning and end of music are the shout, the sigh, the moan. The cry of the Walküre or Alberich's cry would be supreme ideals of musical expression. We must shout Hail! to the music drama and turn a disapproving back to the fugue and the classical symphony if we embrace this theory. It is precisely this that Wagner did. Fortunately for the world he was not too consistent. He could not construct a whole score of a succession of emotional cries. As a consequence we have those treasures of composition, extended, intricate, and glowing, which, tho Wagner contended that they should never be heard apart from the drama, because of their descriptive quality, still charm us because they stand alone as music. It is so with all music; it must be interesting and beautiful as music, or else all the "explanatorynotes in the world will not persuade us to endure it.

"But," the hearer will say, "music does express emotion.” It does; but why limit it to that? So does language that is not formal, so do bodily pose, gesture, facial expression. We cannot move thru emotional scenes without expressing emotion in some of these ways; yet they are not art. Clive Bell, in his book Art, puts the matter in a nutshell when he says: "To caper and shout is to express oneself, yet is it comfortless, but introduce the idea of formality, and in dance and song you may find satisfying delight. Form is the talisman."

Thus it happened that the savage exprest his feelings in tone by shouts and formless and inchoate cries; but at the same time his ear was charmed with the twang of a bowstring, the sound of the wind passing over reeds; and he made himself stringed instruments and flutes and began to form successions of tones into rude patterns. His progress in this direction is perhaps best described by Parry in his Evolution of the Art of Music. It continued to the point of the first movement of a “Fifth Symphony" by Beethoven, or a "Fugue in G-Minor” by Bach.

This creation of pure form, of pure beauty, is one of the most unselfish things a man can accomplish. It lifts him above the sharp, clamoring emotions that spring out of the dramatic clash of incident, into a world of pure vision and desire. When shall we learn this? When shall we understand that art has primarily to do with beauty, not with worldly significance? It is the despair of the painter as it is of the musician that the public looks only for a story of life in his work and passes unheeding those elements which make it a work of art.

Our error probably lies in the fact that the two elements, worldly significance and ideal beauty, are curiously blended; and being saturated with life we interpret the art work in terms of worldly experience alone. Yet, all unconsciously, it is beauty-formal beauty—which moves us, not the literal emotion. If this were not true, the cry and the moan, I repeat, would be the beginning and the end of music, and Alberich's hoarse shout would satisfy us more than the Tristan prelude or a Beethoven symphony.

A child lives, far more than an adult, in a world of pagan simplicity and directness. Light and shade, form, color, and sound come to him as direct sensation. He needs and seeks no meaning beyond their direct acceptability. Imagine teaching a child that the Monteverde string tremolo means fear, excitement, tragedy. He hears only some violins making interesting rustling sounds. If these ascend and descend in interesting and pleasant undulations and attractive rhythm, if there is contour and balance, he is pleased. If they do not, he soon ceases to attend. In this attitude the child is on the high road to a real appreciation of the beautiful in music. If we took him there and guided him wisely later in observations as to how music attains contour and symmetry, we would eventually have intelligent and discriminating audiences for our classical programs.

What we do is to teach him rote songs. This we must do. There is no other instrumentality than his voice, no other medium than the song. Not content, however, with doing that simply and directly, we call his attention to the words particularly. We teach the words first, we expatiate on the pictures or stories they represent, we even add physical movements and "dramatize” the song often to the extent of making a whole play out of it. Sometimes, it is true, if the lesson period is long enough, a note or two of the music of a rote song that is being "taught” may be heard before the end of the lesson is reacht; but in the main the process tends to teach the child to visualize instead of hear when he sings, and to feel that energy

« PreviousContinue »