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Inasmuch as this subject demands primarily quick and sensitive perception and retentive memory, it is especially appropriate to the first two years in high school, though it could well be substituted for musical appreciation in the last two years. The requisite talent for its study is not so great or so rare as is commonly supposed, but as musical interest is necessary it should be made an elective study.
An academic presentation of the subject, such as that found in almost all the older textbooks, is to be heartily condemned. The following features should be invariable:
(a) Ear training, carried throughout and at appropriate stages involving aural recognition of any interval, any triad as major, minor, diminished or augmented, any seventh chord (as to its intervals), of any tone and of any chord as to its scale relations, of any chord progression, of any modulation as to its harmonic procedure and the keys involved, of organ points, suspensions, anticipations; in short, involving aural recognition of all the harmonic material learned and used through the eye and symbols of notation.
(6) Instruction in the canons of melody writing; tendencies of melodic tones, melodic contour; motivation, the phrase, the process of coherent musical thought, the period.
(c) Harmonization of melodies (original or given) rather than harmonization of figured basses. (Thorough bass should be taught, but should constitute only a small part of the practice.)
(d) Harmonic analysis as revealing accepted musical usage by composers of the chord material presented.
(e) Freedom and musical proficiency in the use of harmonic material. Every harmonic factor is like a new word in the student's vocabulary, and is to be used by him in constructing numerous musical sentences until he is familiar with all of its merits, powers, and special qualities.
This branch must be considered as an exceptional offering, possible only under especially favorable conditions, unless included under harmony. Three suggestions are offered as to its organization in a course and these are in what is believed to be their order of merit:
First. It may be included under harmony in a two-year's course, following the methods that seek to combine these two aspects of tonal organization, such as those of Percy Goetschins.
Second. It may be included in a four-years' course in contrapuntal harmony and composition, after this same method of combination.
Third. It may follow, as a separate two-years' course, the two years of harmony above advised.
This branch of musical study and practice should be an invariable offering. It should be open to any student qualifying for all four high-school years.
The musicianship that results naturally from ensemble playing is more advanced than that which arises naturally from ensemble singing. More hours of practice and preparation are necessary before successful participation is possible; the expression of the musical thought or impulse is less direct than in singing and becomes a matter, therefore, of greater reflection; the mechanical nature of the medium of expression makes sight reading and a knowledge of staff notation more exact; the number and diversity of the orchestral parts-diversity in pitch, tonal quality, and rhythmic proceduremake the whole a richer complex than is presented in chorus work; and this complexity and variety have attracted composers to orchestral expression for their greatest works.
Nevertheless the course in orchestral ensemble must be guarded, if it attains its best ends. The following recommendations are therefore urged:
First. The instruments should be played in the manner of their solo capacities, the ideals of chamber music and the refined treatment of each part in a symphony orchestra being ever kept in mind.
Second. Music should be selected that, however easy, still recognizes these particular values for each and every instrument.
Third. The orchestra should be considered an orchestral class or orchestral study club primarily, and a factor for the diversion of the school only incidentally.
Fourth. Instruments should be bought by or for the school, to remain school property, and these should be loaned, under proper restrictions, to students who will learn to play them. Instruments such as the double bass, timpani, French horn, oboe, bassoon (or any less rare that are yet usually lacking in any particular school) should be bought. Only by such means can orchestral richness and sonority be secured, the real idiom of orchestra be exemplified, and advanced orchestral literature be made practicable to the students.
Fifth. Seventh and eighth grade orchestras, similarly conducted and equipped with a like generous outfit of school-owned instruments should be organized as training schools for the high-school orchestra.
CREDIT FOR MUSIC APPLIED UNDER SPECIAL TEACHERS OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL.
It is recommended that study of voice, piano, organ, violin, or any orchestral instrument, under special teachers outside of the school, when seriously undertaken and properly examined and certified, shall receive equal credit with any academic, five-hour study regularly
pursued in high school, and shall be accepted in substitution for any regular school work that would command the same amount of credit. This recommendation is based upon the following considerations:
(a) The proficiency gained in singing or playing during the highschool period by many boys and girls proves, in a number of cases, to be of greater value to the individual in later life than any attainment gained in school in the same number of hours.
(6) Notwithstanding that most adults believe it desirable that young people should learn to sing or play an instrument, a severe handicap is put upon them in this respect by the necessity of attending, at the same time, to the heavy demands of their general education; and many students, including, even, a number who expect to be musicians, abandon or neglect music during their high-school years, when the greatest progress can and should be made, rather than jeopardize the securing of a diploma by neglecting some one branch of the regular course.
(c) We regard as untenable the assumption, expressed or implied, that an individual would be uneducated if he pursued three or four regular studies per year for four years and added music to these, but would be educated if he pursued four or five studies each year for four years and dropped music.
(d) We believe that this untenable assumption is not due to any active solution of the question of the place of music in an educational plan, but rather to a passive acceptance of traditional academic standards that are now outgrown and should be abandoned.
Choruses of boys, choruses of girls (glee clubs), and brass bands may under some conditions be deemed desirable. If organized, the general provisions recommended for securing educational value in chorus and orchestral work should be held to apply.
It is not expected that each high school shall offer all the branches here recommended. The offerings that presumably would be desirable in high schools of varying sizes were recommended in a report on high-school music made by a committee (Will Earhart, chairman) of the music supervisors' national conference to that body and adopted by them in St. Louis in 1912. This report also made certain recommendations as to the scholastic organization of all music work with respect to the number of hours, points credit, etc.
In adopting the report just mentioned, the music supervisors' national conference voted to include as an amendment an added article which should further recommend the crediting of musical study under teachers outside the school. This recommendation has already been made at length in the earlier part of this report.
WILL EARHART, Chairman. PITTSBURGH, PA.
The other members of the committee on music are as follows:
STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON
This committee held a meeting in Philadelphia on Saturday, March 1, 1913, at the William Penn High School, and another at the State normal school, Salem, Mass., August 28, 1913. The statement that follows is a résumé of the work of the committee prepared by the chairman:
AIM OF THE COMMERCIAL COURSE.
The general aim of the high school is assumed to be
1. To provide the student with the proper physical equipment, through instruction in physiology, hygiene, and by physical training.
2. To provide instruction in citizenship, through courses in civics and through social organizations of the school.
3. To lay the foundation for a broad appreciation of life, through courses in science, literature, art, music, etc.
The special aim of the commercial course is to enable the student to fill a place in commercial life. The course should be so planned as to equip the student to earn his livelihood immediately, in case he leaves before completion of the course, and also to equip him to fill more responsible positions as they may offer in the future.
SHALL SHORT COURSES BE GIVEN?
The answers usually made to the question depend upon the experience and location of the schools in which the experiment has been made. Fewer schools than formerly are now giving short courses. Some schools have changed from the short course to the long course, but there is yet no record of a school which has changed from a long course to the short course. The movement for short courses has received an impetus from the development of the vo
cational courses given in several New England schools. The answer to the question, Do short courses give adequate preparation for commercial life, depends largely upon one's ideals of a student's commercial equipment. Where the aim is to secure for the student in as short a time as possible a position where he can earn his bread and butter, the short course is popularly advocated. Where the aim is to start the student on a commercial career worthy of the name, the long course is given. It may be possible to combine both elements and to plan a course so that at the end of each year some definite object is attained, and that a unit course might be regarded as terminating at the end of any year. Due care must be taken, however, not to lose continuity in instruction, for there is a certain momentum acquired by giving instruction in a subject continuously throughout several years. A course planned in yearly units might offer a wider range of electives than is now offered in commercial work, mathematics, and modern languages. The principle of election has won its way in the general courses, but it has apparently a harder battle before it in the special courses.
SHOULD COMMERCIAL WORK BE GIVEN IN THE SEVENTH AND EIGHTH
GRADES OF THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL ?
When one considers the abilities of seventh and eighth grade pupils, and what the business world demands of them, one realizes that commercial work given to such pupils must be very elementary in its character. The business man demands of such pupils the ability to write simple business letters, facility in the ordinary arithmetical operations, some general knowledge of business, such as how goods are bought, sold, ordered, charged, and delivered, and some knowledge of the materials of commerce. This is a demand which is not very different from the demand that the community makes upon all pupils of the seventh and eighth grades. On the other hand, if the aim of instruction in the seventh and eighth grades is to ena..d the pupil to determine his future vocation, he should have an opportunity to try not only commercial work, but industrial work as well. With the extension of departmental work in the seventh and eighth grades, it is possible to give the pupil an opportunity to test the different vocational fields. The suggested content of prevocational commercial work includes penmanship, commercial arithmetic, business forms, related customs, and simple accounts. An introductory commercial course should be given in the high school also for students who did not take it in the elementary school, in order to carry out fully the ideal of the seventh and eighth grades as a testing period. The general consensus of opinion seems to be in favor of an increasing amount of specialized work in the later years of the course.