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Title: Seed Thoughts for Singers
Author: Tubbs, Frank Herbert, 1853-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: image of the book's cover]




_Musical Director, New York Vocal Institute_.

[Illustration: colophon]



_Copyright, 1897, Frank H. Tubbs._


There are times when one feels that he must turn from himself and
receive suggestion, if not direct instruction, from some one else.
Originating thought is more difficult than is the taking of other
thought. By delving below the thought received we learn to originate. It
is not necessarily an admission of weakness, that we turn to another,
for busy life uses up our mental energy and throws us into mental
inactivity. It is at such times that we turn to books and teachers.

Thought is a substance which, as such, is only in our day being fully
investigated. It is the expression of an idea and is the direct cause of
all action. The slightest movement is made possible only through thought
on perceived or unconscious mental activity. The more thoroughly
directed actions are the expression of considered thought. Habit and
movement by intuition are expressions of undirected thought. Changing
from the latter condition to that of planned or considered action makes
all action stronger and more definite. The thinking man becomes the
leader of men.

"Seed-thoughts" are such as produce other thoughts. Hardly have we
reached the realm of ideas. It is a step--not long, yet
well-defined--from thought to idea. This little volume does not propose
to take that step. It is content to stop, in all modesty, at that place.
Its suggestions are sent out to busy teachers and students to lodge in
mind as plantings in good mental soil. That they will take root, spring
up and bear fruit, is fondly hoped. What the harvest of thought in
others may be is idle to speculate upon, but the hope exists that there
may be two or three times the amount used in planting when all shall
have been gathered in. In this hope the "Seed-thought" is sent on its

121 West 42d Street,
New York.


CHAPTER I.--Success.                                                  11

CHAPTER II.--Desultory Voice Practice.                                27

CHAPTER III.--Alere Flamman.                                          43

Every one Can Sing, 43; Sustain Perfectly, 44; Care of Body, 45; Friends
Can Help, 48; Renew Thought, 49; Speaking and Singing, 50; Associates,
51; Purity of Method, 52; Mental Recovery, 53; Profession or Trade, 53;
Heart and Intellect, 54; Time Ends Not, 55; Power of Thought, 56; Nature
Seldom Jumps, 58; Be Perfect, 59.

CHAPTER IV.--Perfect Voice Method.                                    63

CHAPTER V.--A Paper of Seeds.                                         79

Analyze Songs, 79; Fault Finding, 80; Recover from Mistakes, 80; Songs
for Beginners, 81; Criticism, 82; Wait for Results, 83; All Things are
Good, 84; Little Things Affect, 85; Musical Library, 86; Change of
Opinions, 87; Reputation Comes Slowly, 88; Study Poetry, 89; Mannerisms
Show Character, 90; Provide for the Young, 91; There are no Mistakes,
93; Regularity, 94; Assert Individuality, 96; Educing, 97.

CHAPTER VI.--Cuneus Cuneum Trudit.                                   101

Vocal Tone, 101; True Art is Delicate, 104; Words and Tone Should Agree,
105; Preparation for Teaching, 108; Experience, 111; Before an Audience,
112; Come Up Higher, 113; Crude Voices Express no Emotion, 114.

CHAPTER VII.--Ambition.                                              119

CHAPTER VIII.--Music and Longevity.                                  137

CHAPTER IX.--Activity.                                               147



     _"I am what I am because I was industrious; whoever is equally
     sedulous will be equally successful."_ =Bach.=

     _"To steer steadily towards an ideal standard is the only means
     of advancing in life, as in music."_ =Hiller.=




A few decades ago a clumsy, lank, raw-boned boy roamed over the hills of
the State of Ohio. He was not marked with the talent of many, nor was he
noted for anything in particular except, perhaps, an aptness in "doing
sums." Bare-footed, and with scanty clothing, he appeared at a school in
a village near his home and begged admission. At first he was refused.
Persistence overcame the opposition and he entered, becoming in a short
time by his application, the leading spirit in the school. The course of
study there being completed, he went to an office across in Delaware as
a clerk. That year, the Representative to Congress from Delaware, when
about to appoint a youth to enter the Naval Academy at Annapolis,
announced a competitive examination. The country lad competed and
secured the prize. Friends whom he had made raised funds for the
necessary uniforms. At the end of his course a good appointment in the
navy followed. Visits to various countries gave him command of three
languages. A change to shore duty permitted him to study law. At a
recent courtmartial trial at Brooklyn he served as advocate for the
Government so acceptably that he has been offered and has accepted,
membership in one of the largest law firms in New York. The change from
the rough lad to the cultured advocate indicates success.

On a bench in an old-fashioned shoe shop sat a young man working at his
trade. A singing teacher, passing along, noticed the rich voice of the
young man, singing as he worked. The teacher inquired where he sang in
church and if he sang in public. Learning that the young man sang
no-where, had had no instruction or education, and lacked even the
clothes necessary to a respectable appearance, he interested himself in
the youth and lived to see him become the leading oratorio basso of
America. Success! You will say these two had great natural gifts, all
their faculties, and had friends. Another case: A boy at six, was left
as a result of scarlet fever, stone blind. Nor has he since seen a ray
of light. A necessary faculty to success gone, is it? To-day that young
man is one of the best musicians and singers; getting $1,500 for his
choir singing. Success.

There is within each and every one _that ability_ and _prime element_,
which, properly commanded and developed, COMPELS success. But few
understand themselves or realize the power within them. Without
comprehension of what is within, no start toward success can be made. A
reason for absence of comprehension lies in the fact that but one side
of self is ever seen, and that side is the grosser one. The body--a
head, a trunk, arms and legs. These we see with our physical eyes and
call the object, man. We incline to think if these parts are comely,
well shapen, strong, beautiful, the possessor may march on to success.
"Trust not to appearance." Were the body the root of all things, or of
especial worth, the race would be to the swift, the fight to the strong.
But that seen, felt, heard, is not the real self. Within the body, as a
dweller and a motive power, is the ego, the real self. It is that and
that only which can be developed and which possesses those attributes,
compelling, bye and bye, success. It is that which must, to some degree,
be understood. _Be the body what it may_, the real self has the power of
expression and improvement. That real self will be spoken of as the ego,
and its power considered.

There enters into existence at birth or early in life an indefinable
something. We term it soul, spirit, mind. When we meet or associate
with a person, in a short time we recognise that mind. At first we may
notice the body or even the dress and be influenced by it. In time we
see back of that outward covering and see the mind behind it. After, we
forget the body in the acquaintance with the mind. A homely person
becomes illumined with new life. A beauty loses attraction. We have
learned to know the ego in our acquaintance. That ego we come to know as
all there is of the acquaintance. A dozen bodies in the dissecting room
of the medical college are almost exactly alike. More alike than are the
suits of clothes cast off last year by a dozen men. The ego from a dozen
men will have small point of resemblance. The ego has so many
characteristic elements that it makes possibility of development,
throughout the years allotted to man while passing over the earth's
crust, _into_ ANYTHING. The body is the home of the ego and the tool for
its development and action. Train the body to ability to respond to the
demands of the ego, and keep it healthful, and no more can be done with
it. For now nothing more need be said of the body. In speaking of the
cause of non-success, limited success or disaster, reference to it will
be made.

Attributes of mind lead always in the direction of progress. Ego, mind,
real self, is God within us. "He breathed in his nostrils the breath of
life and man became a living soul." That "breath of life" is God. That
cannot tend downward. The attributes of God are the attributes of the
ego. Love, thought, sympathy, ambition, helpfulness, desire for
refinement, culture, expansion--these are such attributes. Is any mind
lacking these? If we say yes, look within ourselves and see if they are
lacking in us. Accord the same faculties or attributes of mind to each
of our fellow men. These attributes cultivated will cause growth of the
ego as surely as it is that God liveth and we are in Him. But this
growth makes the ego greater and by its reaching out after the things of
the world and taking them to itself, produces that which we term
success. Understand, then, the ego. Grow it. Reach and possess. These
attributes are the forces within each and these forces are the elements
of success.

But, asks one, what is the bearing of this on our study and on our
singing. It has been plain to me as a teacher, and it grows stronger
every year, that all success in singing arises from a comprehension of
the ego within us, and the cultivation of these attributes bearing
directly upon singing and music. Three only of those attributes may be
considered now.

First,--ambition. What would you become? Yes, a musician and singer.
Consult one who knows your body better than you and enough of your mind
to judge well, and if he says you may become one, plan your life work to
making your ambition gratified. Aim high. But few persons lack the
capacity of singing well. The goal of most is that, to sing well. At
home only, it may be. For friends, and for self-pleasure. Others would
become professional artists. Aim at the highest and best. No ambition is
too high and, provided we will cultivate the ego, no ambition will
remain ungratified. Do not be modest in expectancy. Nothing is too good
or too high, too great or too noble for the God within us. Therefore
plan large things.

_Second_--thought. Having planned a broad campaign and having resolved
on faithfulness, bend the thought toward the result. Now, thought is not
the subtle nonentity we let ourselves consider it. The text of a book
recently examined is, "Thoughts are things." Thought is an emanation of
the ego; a messenger of the mind. We shoot thoughts out by the thousands
and millions. Generally we fly them at random. If they strike a mark we
gain a result. Stop shooting them at random, aim correctly, hit the mark
each time and each thought brings a result. Pure thought, the thought
from the ambitious ego, is upward, and when centered, concentrated on
the plan which ambition has prompted, it carries that plan
onward--upward--to the end, _success_. Concentration of thought, say
you? Do we not have it? Let me ask you to fix the thought on one object
five seconds. Tear this paper slowly from end to end and think of
nothing else while doing it. Probably the thought during the five
seconds will embrace a dozen things besides the act of tearing. Of what
paper is made, how far apart the lines are, be the texture fine, how
much does it cost, some other paper bought last week, where you bought
it, the salesman who served you, what a frightful rainy day that was,
how you caught cold and what a scolding you got at home for being out--a
long way from the act of tearing. The first thought is lost.
Concentrate. Acquire the habit of concentration. In nothing more than in
thinking should we say, "Do one thing at a time." Concentration of
thought makes steady growth of the plan of ambition's suggestion and
moves it on to success.

_Third_--expression. Every growth produces another. Emerson says in
substance that the end of every act is but the beginning of another. It
used to be said that if a man made $5,000 he was sure to become
rich--meaning that the money invested and reinvested, and added to by
constant earning, would surely bring wealth. Every growth of attribute
of mind, be it of those mentioned or of others, develops possibilities
of further growth. Love, a powerful attribute of the ego, first circles
in the home, then expands into the circle of friends, then reaches the
business, society, the world. One begins by caring for the want of a
hurt bird or other pet. He ends by raising and healing mankind. One
quietly slips a few pennies into the hand of an unfortunate. He ends by
being a philanthropist. One speaks a kind word. He ends by raising the
fallen. These, you see, touch upon sympathy, helpfulness. Each attribute
expands. Have you followed? Isn't this true? How, then, about desire for
refinement? If the others expand, will not that? A noble thought, an
association with the pure in art, and beauty in poem, story, song, sky,
flower, but leads us to another even more beautiful. Each touch of
beauty, of docility, of refinement, expands that line of our ego, and we
feel ourselves raised, drawing nearer and nearer that great Mind, and
keeping us more and more in that grace which passeth all understanding.
The end _must_ be success in our plan. Mental growth means more power to
grasp and wrest from circumstances and the world itself, successful
prosecution of the plan which ambition framed. Successful prosecution
means ultimate success.

In mind I hear some one say, this is good theory and a beautiful
picture. What of it is practical enough for my mind. Let us turn for a
few minutes to a darker side and then again to the brighter, and see if
a practical word does not exist for each. What prevents success, and is
there false success?

A few minutes ago I spoke of the bodies which the ego inhabits. Those
bodies possess attributes and faculties. St. Paul said once that he
would be out of the body and be in the spirit; meaning, as I believe,
that he would rather live in the ego, and not be hindered by the body.
The body must be fed and clothed. It has appetites. Appetite grows,
requiring more delicacies, higher spiced and richer food, and perhaps
more food. Clothing takes much attention, and develops pride and vanity.
Has not each said many a time, "If I but had time to attend to study and
did not have to attend to my clothes, my food, and take the time to earn
money for them, I could do so much"? True, but the body is here and if
these things are not done, the ego would have no home in which to stay.
The care of the body is necessary. Cannot, however, even these necessary
demands be somewhat reduced for the sake of attending to the ego within,
more fully? If not, cannot the appetite and the pride, which, after all,
give no satisfaction when all is done, be so held in check by care and
reasonableness that the demands of body will not grow upon us? After
all, those necessary demands of body, grown abnormal, or into the
unnecessary, are not so bad as other attributes of body. Laziness! Light
gossip! Fretting! Uncleanness! Disease! These things _can't_ be part of
the ego, for the real man is the "breath of life"--God. They must be of
body. They are the things which play havoc with our time, our energy,
our thought. It is a commonly accepted belief that man must be now and
then on the sick bed. That commonly-accepted belief is slowly but surely
disappearing before the fact that the body only becomes diseased as it
is neglected, overfed or attacked by bacillæ. If a plant dies we look
for the worm at its root, or the insect on the leaf. If it has had good
soil, earth and sun, we expect it to flourish. The body is the same
material--dust. Attend it, not abuse it, and except from contagion it
will serve us without disease. Solomon said, "Know thyself." Maybe he
meant know to care for the body. When this is done the ego is allowed
its chance to go to success. Without it, the body, full of appetite,
pride, hatred, laziness, envy, fretfulness and disease, weighs with
compelling force, the ego down to earth. Instead of success follows
failure. Emancipate the ego from the body before even planning. This
body and this alone can cause failure. A success arising from a pretty
face, a good figure, graceful dancing, agile singing and trifling speech
is false success and is worse than failure. How about circumstances and
their influences? Surroundings. They surely effect us. Yes, but just so
surely as the ego throws off the lower self, within the body, and
resolves to rise, just so quick will the circumstances and surroundings
begin to change. Just so fast as the ego develops its attributes just so
fast will appropriate circumstances and surroundings for its further
growth open. Like begets like. Water seeks its level. Seek low things on
bodily planes and low friends will surround you. Like is with like.
Raise yourself a peg and you will find those with whom you can follow.
Your old associates will not go with you, and some will call you mean
and cry, "Come back," and try to pull you back. Bid them adieu and go
higher. _New_ surroundings are there and will make a place for you in
them. The past becomes a stepping stone and if you have cleared the ego
of your own body, you will rise again. Like draws like. The new friends,
the new town, the new music, the new activity will lend you their aid to
go higher. Clear yourself at each step of the weight brought on by body
and circumstances will seem different. "God helps him who helps
himself." Those who would pull back are by our very inertia cast off. We
rise to success.

The thousand things which might be well said in connection with the
subject must be left. Recapitulation and application to the individual
singing student show these:

1st. Plan, and concentrate thought on its execution.

2d. Cultivate the real self and not permit the shell or body to

3d. By that command of the self, win friends and compel success. That
which conduces most toward success is even disposition and geniality.
These grow into kindly independence which develops for us experience.

How long, ask you, will it take to become an artist? No one knows. Two
minds differ--in fact, no two are alike. A few months suffice to make
the crudest student an adept singer; or rather, is time enough to make
him sing as well as his mind wishes. From that time on the voice grows
better only as the mind grows and comprehends how to further use the
voice. So, then, as soon as one can sing so as to acceptably please
friends, it is a duty which the pupil owes himself to sing for those
whom he pleases. The effort gives him experience and prepares him to
meet the next circle. As the ability grows, seek to sing before greater
artists, and with the best singers. The time will come--it may be one
year, two years, three years, or even more--when it is best to go before
the best artists of the world and secure their commendation and their
co-operation (silently it may be) to further for you the prosecution and
completion of your pre-arranged plan regarding your music. What matters
it how long this takes. Life is, if you are using it aright, a
perfection of a plan of existence which will end only when we pass over
the River. A portion, more or less long, used in making a musician and
an artist, is but a part of the whole, and a development of the talent
lent us by the good Father, and which we, by our effort, eventually
return to Him, added to, and made beautiful because of the Heavenborn
Art--music--which we have absorbed to ourselves. Nor is this all, for in
the development of our own talent we have carried the whole world
unconsciously upward nearest the pure, the beautiful and the true.



"_Nothing should be done without a purpose._"


"_Music is never stationary; successive forms and styles are only like
so many resting-places--like tents pitched and taken down again on the
road to the Ideal._"




European schools and teachers stand aghast at what American pupils
demand and at their expectations. Accustomed to the years of attention
to detail and to seeing their own students willing to wait long years
before good results are achieved, they naturally think the American
students wild. These Americans want to do in one year what Europeans are
willing to use three or four years for. Those teachers say it cannot be
done and set down American students as conceited fools. While at first
glance the teachers appear right, may they not be wrong? America to-day
has more inventions in use, more quick ways of working in all lines of
life, and can show quicker results in all lines of activity than any
other nation. Methods and ways have been devised and adapted to American
speed in all branches. May such not apply to study? So this item is
prepared in the interest of American students, living under American
conditions. It is useless to say, "we live too fast." Take facts as
they are and adjust our custom to the day, place and situation.

Until within comparatively few years the plan for cultivation of the
voice and preparation for song singing was to sing a few sustained tones
for warming up the voice, as the saying was, and then to sing vocalizes.
In the earlier stages of practice solfeggii and vocalizes of easy range
and light character were employed. As these were acquired, similar ones
of greater difficulty were used and as the singer gained confidence in
himself and ability to sing better, the exercises were still increased
in difficulty. The time employed in study extended over several years
and with the result that those who had patience and perseverance became
able to sing. Not one, however, in a thousand, who studied ever arrived
at a point which allowed him comfort in his singing or pleasure to his
hearers. That is, to the idea of a practical mind, desultory voice
study. It may be adapted to the contented plodding of an old world
civilization, but is not in keeping with the age of electricity or of
gigantic schemes. It must be kept in mind by every one that "old things
have passed away and all things have become new." The very association
about us makes mind keen to rapidity of action, speaking from incisive
thought. A plodder stands back while the brilliant man moves to the
front. By the plodder is meant he who is _willing_ to go slowly. By the
brilliant man, he, though he may not have more native talent than the
other, has by calling to his aid those commanding elements of success,
moved surely and therefore swiftly, through the perplexities of every
existence, to the front. Every thing which cuts off wastefulness of time
becomes a weapon with which to fight perplexities. In such an active
life, he who would cultivate the voice and become a musician must map
out for himself a course of study which will give him the best results
in the quickest possible time.

It is patent to every one who intelligently teaches that the road
followed during the last few generations lacks these short roads to
success. One asks, and with justice, if we have now found the royal road
to learning which it has ever been said does not exist. If that means
the road by which, at one bound, we reach perfection, the answer must be
that no royal road has been found. There have been planned, however,
ways of procedure which must shorten the trip. I know not when man first
practised dentistry but this I do know, that the doctor of dental
science who works on lines of even one generation back is valueless.
To-day the terrors of the dentist's chair are reduced to a minimum, if
not entirely removed. Photography, a science of our day, has swiftly
grown to an art. I recall a photographer who in 1870 was noted for
perfect work. He was so satisfied with himself and his work that he
neglected to use the new ways which were being discovered. In 1880 his
work was considered so bad as to be condemned by all and his studio was
forsaken. Printing by the sun had not been discarded but how to use the
science had been carefully advanced--wasteful and slow method discarded,
and surer and better results obtained. Is a musician less keen of
perception and adjustment to circumstances than the dentist and
photographer? Pride rebels against an affirmative answer. Then the
natural deduction is that he has learned to apply new ways and methods,
by and through which he can produce surer and more beautiful results
than could his predecessor in his profession. As a first step toward
progress he recognised the faults of the old way and sought a change
from them. The chief of the faults lay in seeking to cultivate a sound.
He said in substance, then, that "since cultivating a sound is wrong I
consider that no such thing as sound exists. It cannot be perceived by
any of the senses. It cannot be seen, tasted, smelt, felt, or even
heard." (Parenthetically, it may be said if one takes exception to the
latter statement, that proof is given of the truth if one sings into a
phonograph. The singer cannot recognise what the instrument sounds back
as _his_ voice. Others may recognise it but he cannot. The hearing of
my voice by another, no matter how much _he_ may tell me about it, does
not show me how it sounds, and I must conclude that I cannot hear it.)
Since none of the five senses can bear upon sound, for cultivating it,
sound, or tone if you wish to call it so, is worthless. This then which
the old teachers watched for years, was intangible, and to watch it
to-day and to try to form singers by manipulating so subtle a thing,
produces wastefulness, and desultory practice. Go to the foundation.
What produces voice? Vibration of air reservoirs. What governs the air
and gives the vibration? Muscle. What are muscles, where are they, how
can they be managed? They are contained within the portion of the body
between the waist and the eyes, and form, while used in voice
production, about all of that portion of the body, and they can be
managed by the understanding and command of the mind. The general
understanding of vocal anatomy, and the positive control of that anatomy
that it may do just what the will demands is the foundation of voice
practice. Such positiveness makes possible the rapidity of vocal
development akin to the surety of the dentist's art and the certainty of
the photographer. The prime fault of old methods is, at one stroke, cut
away. A new growth on the foundation appears.

Many musical journals discuss methods, Italian, French, German. Even
wonder if we will ever have an American method. Such discussion is
waste. There is _one_ method. _All_ schools build on it. He who
understands it best and is surest in teaching it, gives best result and
is the best teacher. He, the best teacher, is such only when he applies
his mind to each and every act of his pupil and banishes for the time
being every other thought from mind. In a proper lesson every minute is
used thoroughly. No sixty seconds can be thrown away. The mind of the
teacher alert to the necessity of his charge makes every minute tell.
With this as a preamble, turn to the pupil who is by himself to avoid
desultory practice.

You have a voice. Every one has. Yours, you know, is a very good one.
You want (not, would like) in the quickest time to make it do just what
you conceive a fine singer should do. Then, know what is to be done,
understand how to do it, and do it. The boys say "One to make ready, two
to prepare, and three--." But you stand around making ready, preparing
so long. Why? Do you know what is to be done? Ask the teacher, and don't
let him evade positive instruction. Garcia, when asked the cause of
Jenny Lind's great success, replied "She never tried to do anything 'til
she knew how. More than once she has come to my house of an evening and
said 'I did not fully understand what you told me to-day. Will you
explain it again?' After that she never needed to be told again." At a
lesson understand what is taught. Don't pretend you do when you do not.
After going home from each lesson, write in a book kept for that purpose
what has been said at the lesson. Read that book often. This will fix in
mind, as well as preserve for reference, the instruction, and make sure
the understanding of it. Then it is for you to do it. Once the pianist
played scales by the hour to limber the hand; now he thinks only of the
muscle which causes each finger to strike, and makes that muscle work at
once. What formerly took months to do he now does in days. Desultory
practice is avoided. A teacher in a certain city complained that another
teacher got pupils by advertising quick method. Cut off desultory
practice, apply mind where brute force has formerly held sway, and quick
method is the result.

One reference to complaint brings others to mind. The most precious
commodity known is time. Twenty-four hours only in a day. How little and
how valuable. Yet if all is conserved, how much and how great. Masonic
instruction divides the day into three portions; one for our usual
avocations, one for good of self and family, and one for refreshment and
sleep. So much for instruction. Can some wasteful acts of life be
reduced or eliminated, that we may economize time, and what is better,
form habit of utilizing all of the precious commodity? What a lesson one
can draw on these elevated trains. Each morn, a man (one man, or how
many think you?) enters and finds a seat. Immediately he is into his
newspaper. A half hour later he gets out, having arrived at his station.
What has happened? He has read the newspaper. No, he _hasn't_ read the
newspaper. Ask him what he has learned. He can't tell you. One item,
two, three, perhaps--and these of little value. That is not reading. It
is cursory glancing, desultory and wasteful. Stop it. Thirty precious
minutes gone. A glance at a paper (provided one knows the general
make-up of the paper he reads) tells him all in it of value. Six minutes
is enough, except when something of unusual moment is to be read, and
that doesn't happen once a month. The other twenty-four minutes should
go into some other purpose. A book, magazine, play, or even silent
thought will give value for the twenty-four. At night, on the way home,
the man skims through an evening paper. Almost one hour of the
twenty-four thrown away. Compute the amount of educational advancement
possible to this city were the hundreds of thousands of hours thrown
away daily to be used in progressive study or thought. You and I help to
waste, do we?

The command of the mind is the underlying need of the student. It has
come into thought that should one apply himself every minute to some
work that he would fatigue and wear out. He could not stand it. Wrong.
The mind cannot wear out, even if it can fatigue. Rest is the opposite
of unrest, and unrest is equivalent to fatigue. The superficial reading
or skimming, shifting of thought through the thousand objects which come
before the mind gives the unrest and through it, the fatigue. Stop the
unrest, and let rest abound. Rest comes through definite change of work.
The man who leaves his office, rushes to mountain and farm, sees new
scenes, faces, customs, eats new food, rides, fishes, swims, climbs and
dances, is the one who comes back rested. There has been no unrest, but
radical change. The first assistant engineer of the New York aqueduct
was to me at one time an object of astonishment. It was said of him,
"When he works, he works; when he plays, he plays; whatever he does it
is for the time all in the world to him." At that time he held an
important engineering position, was an officer in a military
organization, secretary of a yacht club, active in church society,
leader in literary circles in classic Boston and never was rushed. The
change of work was the secret of it all. Rest came by turning out of
mind what did not pertain to the act then in hand. Every act was new.
Of a certain minister it is said "He can do more in ten minutes than
most men do in a day." His church has fifteen hundred members and his
Sunday school a larger number. Calls, sermons, the sick, weddings,
funerals, the poor (for he had four charity societies), his family,
young people's societies,--yet he has time for all and he sees callers,
more in one week than you and I do in a year. How does he do it? What
you and I waste time upon, he does not. No gossip, worry, standing
before a mirror, dozing over dinner, or unrest for him. Vary the
monotony a little and find rest. Don't fear doing too much. Wear out, if
need be, but don't rust. It is the busy man who has lots of time. Do you
want advice, a helping hand? Avoid the lazy man, for he has no time for
you. The busy man has. Why is it that the busy teacher draws the most
pupils? Were he to half teach ten pupils they would leave him and no
more would come. Because he can attend to forty, and that by making to
each a profitable half-hour, forty more come. The half supplied teacher
is less able to teach his small flock than the pushed teacher. He _must_
turn quickly from act to act and thus keep rested, by change of scene,
pupil, music and vivacity. "Can you jump immediately from a lesson to
the desk and write one of your magazine articles?" asks one. Nothing
easier. Fix the mind on what is to be done that minute, and do it. It
makes a heaven of earth.

Instruction which is not practical is little worth. You are interested
in improving yourselves vocally. To you let me plan a first step toward
preventing desultory voice practice. Under four headings. Practical

_First._--Establish customs. The best one I know is to plan in advance
to accomplish certain things. Make up the mind what you would like to
do. Each night make out a little card of what is to be done next day.
Probably not half the things planned will be executed, at first. What of
it. Some have been done; but better, that unconscious growth which
carries custom into habit will be developed and the system which will
grow out of the custom of preparing the cards and attempting to work out
that which was planned, will cut off more wasteful minutes than you
admit are in your day. After a time it will come that all the items you
write on the card at evening will not be too much to do on the following
day. Compare the card of the thirtieth day with that of the first and
you will find you wrote quite as many (if not more) things to do and now
you can do them all, and feel no hurry and far less fatigue. Will you
try that?

_Second._--Give certain times each day to certain things. You can't? You
can. I'll give proof you can. Having planned what is to be done the next
day and allowed that custom to become habit, will develop such
regularity that each hour will have its regular work and nothing will
crowd it out. The system produces it. Turn a kaleidoscope. Each jarring
makes new adjustment of figure. Your duty is a kaleidoscope. The proof
is that every one who _tries_ such adjustment, succeeds. The school boy
knows the time of bell ringing, the hour for arithmetic, geography, etc.
The train man knows the minute to be at each station. The clerk or
workman is ready to stop work at a certain time. Certain theatres
announce what scenes will be on at every minute of the evening. You
think and would say, "But these admit of no interruption, and I may have
interruptions." To which I say "These _permit_ no interruption, and if
you were as systematic, you would permit none." A friend calls at the
door to see you. You waste five minutes (only five?) talking to him.
Think it over. Was that necessary? Couldn't it have been said in
two--one, or less? Next time, kindly, but firmly excuse yourself. If the
friend thinks you snubbing, you can afford that, for the friend is a
wasteful one and better be dropped than allowed to spoil you. The fault
when we waste time is in us, not in the friend. A lady called recently.
"Your time is valuable. I'll say in one word what I want." 'Twas said,
and she went. Kind lady! To whom? Me? Not at all. She is one of the
busiest women in the city and couldn't afford to give much of her time
to the errand, but neatly complimented, in order to cover what some
might call selfishness. Be wise. That kindly habit comes from preventing

_Third._--Banish every low or lowering thought. For now, for no reason
except to save time, and help form habit which prevents waste. Every
thought has its sure influence. Every thought of envy, hatred, jealousy,
of crimes, accidents, misfortunes, sorrows, our own or those of others,
is an evil. It takes time out of life and saps life-activity. Supplant
it with pure and good thought. Health, brightness, pleasure, art and
beauty are subjects which lift. Upward, upward, toward heaven! That must
be the student's mental attitude. Enough would drag down. Cast the down
view away. Look up and go up. You do not study for the purpose of going
downward. Upward again to the top--and _you_ must do it by having your
thought good and pure.

_Fourth._--Interest friends in your practice. Only one word about that.
No one can long go in any mental work alone. Progress _is_ mental work.
Rising draws others to and with us. See a little whirlwind take up the
dust. It gathers more and more until a column twenty or thirty feet high
is before us. Tell father, mother, friends, those you can trust, what
you hope to do and what your efforts to accomplish that, are. Seeing
you in earnest they will help--with misgivings at first, may be, but
they will join the column and make one with you sure.

Summary, briefly. By systematic utility, every minute contributes to
progress, forming habits which prevent wasteful thought and fatigue. The
customs of former years need not be followed because direct result will
come from direct application of thought to study. Old world ways and
past generation ideas do not belong to-day in either teacher or pupil,
and, therefore, are to drop out. The wastefulness of uncertainty and
evil in mind may be overcome by directness of effort until good habit
crowds out the evil. The first and all important step is the plan of
action. Acknowledge no limitation to growth. Love soundness, careful
thought, steadfast purpose.



    "_His tongue was framed to music,
           And his hand was armed to skill;
        His face was the mould of beauty,
           And his heart the throne of will._"

    "_Slow, indeed, at times, is the will of the gods, but in
    the end not weak._"




Everyone Can Sing.

The culture of the voice has come to be looked upon as a great and
serious undertaking, and of such magnitude that but few have time for
it, and those only should attempt it who have exceptionally fine voices.
This is a mistake. Nearly everyone can sing, and if all would attempt to
improve the voices they have by observing a few common-sense rules, it
would soon be apparent that there are many more good singers among the
masses than it is supposed exist, and these singers will learn how much
can be done to add to their own comfort, by a little outlay of thought.
Culture of the voice has been made a mystery by charlatan teachers and
for a purpose. Think out how the conversational voice works and then
consider what difference there should be between that and the singing
voice. Nature planned the speaking voice and in doing it, gave us the
line of development to follow in bringing into use the singing voice.
The change from speaking to singing voice is where the quack enters with
his mystery. There is no mystery. Use the voice as in speaking but pitch
it at higher and lower points than are used in speaking. This is the
foundation of the singing voice. Only one caution is needed. Never
strain the throat. If, after a little practice, fatigue is felt or the
tone is husky, stop practice. Do not try to do it all at once. A little
each day added, will, in a few months, do all that is wanted. Do not
expect, however, that any amount of study by one's self will make an
artist. One can sing, by self-study, so as to get much pleasure, and so
as to give pleasure to friends; but something more serious and extended
is needed to make the artist.

Sustain Perfectly.

Sustaining perfectly the reservoir of air is the greatest _desideratum_
in using the voice. Acquiring ability to do so is a puzzle often to
students. The reason is in the fact that no muscles which are directly
under the control of the will can be caused to act upon the air column.
The chief organ of respiration is the diaphragm, and as years of
teaching bring experience which is definite in results, we find that the
diaphragm is the only muscle which holds the air column in check. That
muscle situated within the body cannot be held by any visible power. The
_thought_ of holding it still will make us hold our breath. Trying to
assist such holding by muscles of the chest, abdomen or throat, only
defeats our purpose and makes the diaphragm give way. That large muscle
will do the whole work if we will let it. The thought, as said above, is
what will make it remain quiet. That thought may take various forms.
What assists one does not appeal to another. But here is an assisting
thought which does much good to the majority of students. Of course when
the breath is taken the diaphragm is down and the waist is spread. Then
the chest, bronchial tubes, windpipe and mouth are full of air. Now
allow that air to be as still as the air of the room. Practise
sustaining tone with any vowel, preceding each effort by taking position
suggested above, and with the thought of keeping the air in the body
just the same as, and a part of, the outer air. Then allow tone to float
in the air, permitting no force whatever.

Care of the Body.

Singers seem to think but little of the tools with which they carry on
their life work. That is the rule. Now and then a singer takes the
opposite course and becomes unreasonably careful of his tools. In that
case he is worse off than the careless. The "happy medium" is in all
things the desirable state.

Our tools as singers are enclosed within the body and are the body. To
have the body ready to respond to the musical demands it must be well
and strong. To keep it well should be our first care. Happily we are so
made that by following a few simple rules of living the body goes on
through a long term of years without getting seriously out of order.
Some persons can boast that they are never ill while many report but one
sickness during a decade. The needed attention to the bodily wants, has,
in these cases, been properly given. If all were as careful to do the
same and not overdo the matter, perfect health would be the rule and not
the exception.

The body needs nourishing food, clothing to preserve nearly uniform
temperature, sufficient sleep, generous exercise, and thorough
cleansing. Nothing more. Neglect of these, or as is more often the case,
overdoing some of the first, is cause of disorder and disease. A singer
cannot afford to have the tools of his employment other than in
first-rate condition. If he does he enters his work, unnecessarily

General advice regarding the eating and drinking is often given. Making
it more specific, we would say, eat only such food as is easily
digested and insist that it shall be thoroughly cooked. Supply the body
with enough such for its maintenance only. The singer, again, cannot
afford to eat what is not needed, be that of kind or amount. Most
persons in running a furnace will feed fuel twice a day, at night and
morning. In specially cold weather giving the fire a little extra fuel
at noon. This is a good rule for feeding the body. Avoid over-feeding.
The object of eating is to nourish the body and not to gratify appetite.
It makes little difference whether the palate is pleased or not. The
body could be nourished on food which does not taste so good as some
other. Eating, to most people, is more palate gratification than
anything else. In doing so, the body is overfed and clogged. Singers
cannot afford that.

Sleep. To recover the waste of body at each days' work, quiet restful
sleep is needed. Eight hours, or better nine, out of each twenty-four.
In a cool room where possible and with plenty of fresh air. People who
eat rationally need not fear taking cold by sleeping in a room with a
draught of air through it. Fresh air, fresh, good food and cleanliness
are necessary to the best results in singing study.

No rule can be given about bathing. Some students can stand a thorough
bath every day. Others, only once in ten days. A sponge bath, if no
other, should be had daily, that the pores of the body may be kept open
and clear.

Clothing should be sufficient to keep the temperature of the body even.
No need of wrapping the throat even when going into the open air, if the
temperature of the body generally is even. We do pamper our bodies and
think we are uncomfortable. In one sweeping sentence, be vigorous and
good-natured and the body will the better serve us. A long walk each day
in the fresh air adds to that vigor, and also to our good-nature.

Friends Can Help.

Advice of friends is a source of value or injury to the singing student.
Advice has its influence. Every word spoken about one's voice and
singing helps or injures. If placed in a circle which condemns every
effort we make we are held back by that very influence from doing our
best. Every judicious word of praise helps us upward. A pupil who is
struggling by himself, without a word of cheer in his own home circle
has a hard fight of it. For that reason it is very necessary that pupils
whose desires are similar, and whose aims are toward the highest, should
be gathered together. They help by their words, and often by their
looks, the anxious student. "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves
together," applies. After a pupil's recital, a judicious teacher will
tell his pupils the kind things which the others have said. If unkind
things should be said (but a teacher who is himself kind will not hear
unkind things) he will keep those to himself, guiding himself, however,
by those comments in the future treatment of that criticized pupil. In
this connection, a word to the members of the family of the student. A
mother, who steps into the practice-room occasionally when she hears
good singing and says, "That was good. I see you are improving," aids
the student as much as a half-dozen lessons will aid. A brother who
banters his sister about her singing when he really enjoys it, knows
not, oftentimes, that his banter hurts and harms. To be sure, the
partiality of the home circle may foster false hopes, but since nearly
every one can learn to sing well if rightly trained, that will do less
harm than cold indifference and cruel banter.

Renew Thought.

The teacher who does not live in high thought, and who does not attempt
to attain a high ideal, does poorer work than he thinks he does. It is
an easy matter to settle into a rut and to follow certain lines. These
wear themselves out. New ways of imparting time-honored teaching,
although they may not change the principles of teaching, must be
constantly sought. They will only come to mind by keeping the thought in
the highest realm of intellectual possibility to that teacher. One who
contemplates with restful care, in that higher realm, the beautiful in
music, the way of influencing mind, and the most direct way of causing
students to attain that which they need, will ever renew his method of
teaching. Such renewal will contain something better than he had before.
Unless constant renewal, or at least frequent renewal, takes place, the
rut will be entered upon. The longer one follows it, the deeper he
becomes settled in it, and the harder is it to get out from it.

Speaking and Singing.

The basis of good singing is good speaking. The speaking voice in common
use during conversation covers a range of five or six notes. Frequently
lower and higher notes are called into use, but the high and low notes
of the singing voice are seldom used in conversation. The organs which
produce voice, from their constant use respond involuntarily to the
will. They also do correct work. It is seldom that a person, unless he
has deformity, has trouble to pronounce any word or syllable, while
talking. Would this were true of singers. The student would greatly
lessen the amount of his labor and also reduce the cost of his musical
education if he were able to speak the words as correctly and as easily
while singing as while speaking. It is toward this imitation of the
speaking voice that one must constantly strive if he would make rapid
progress in voice development. When he has reached the point where he
can sing every vowel and consonant perfectly, and with as little effort
as when speaking, on every tone of his singing voice, and then have that
voice loud enough to be well heard in any hall, the voice is completely
and well cultivated.


Singers cannot afford to miss the chance to be among great men. As a
class, musicians are narrow and that arises from the necessity of giving
so much time to technical study. When the chance to meet and associate
with men of broad minds comes, take advantage of it. Even if the contact
be not close some of the light shining from the great mind will illumine
us, and will make us brighter. The great mind is drawing from inspired
source, maybe, and the light which comes from that mind drives out
darkness from whatever it covers. Light and darkness cannot remain
together. Let the mind be thrown open to receptivity when one is in the
presence of the acknowledged leader and good clear light, it may be from
heaven, will flood the mind and illumine it.

Purity of Method.

Purity of vocal method must not be departed from by teachers. The
introduction of new ideas is at best a hazardous undertaking. In the
routine of teaching week after week and month after month the teacher
finds himself casting about for a new idea. He finds something which
pleases him and tries it on his pupils. Most teachers can look back at
experiments which have failed. Better decide on a few basic principles
and cling to them. The desire to try something new is very liable to be
the result of fatigue from overwork. Better take a holiday; go away from
the classroom and rest. Come back to first principles again and go to
work. The result at the end of the year will be better. Every teacher as
he grows older resolves his ways of cultivating the voice into something
very simple but which, as it condenses, becomes more powerful. There is
only one right way and deep thinkers settle on that alike in time.

Mental Recovery.

A teacher cannot do better for himself and his work than to occasionally
close the office door and sit quietly by himself for a half-hour. At
such time crowd out the thought of all work, all planning, all worries,
and all demands. Bring the mind as nearly as can be into inactivity. One
will find in the hour when work is resumed that more of value will flood
into the mind, he knows not from whence, than he can catch and apply in
a great many hours. How many of us have times of refreshing. It is work,
work, hour after hour and the wonder is that we do so much and yet do so
little. Leave out some of the work and call activity of mind to our aid
and we will do more work with much less effort.

Profession or Trade.

An item recently seen reads, "we would rather be a music teacher in an
obscure town than be a prosperous tradesman in a large city." That has
the sound of enthusiasm, and is the feeling of one who has the good of
his fellowmen at heart. Every man who enters a profession gives up his
life to do good. But few men in any professional life ever make more
than a good living. Some can, indeed, save enough to make occasional
investments, and these (if judgment has been good) secure a moderate
fortune. But no man ever became wealthy from his profession alone. A
professional man, however, gratifies his better nature and satisfies
cultivated tastes. A man in trade becomes so engrossed in business that
his better nature (his refined taste) is dwarfed. That comfort of mind
which the professional man has is more to him than the bags of gold of
the merchant would be. Probably the writer who made the remark quoted,
had in mind the opportunity which the music teacher has to do good. It
is a grand field of work, and one who has been engaged in it for several
years wants no other. To lead the public by teaching and by public
performance into the knowledge of the highest art, is a privilege which
should be prized. The music teacher, (even if not so placed by common
opinion) stands with the minister and the physician in the good which he
does the community.

Heart and Intellect.

Let not the heart be the ruling power all the time. If it is, art sinks
into sentimentality. Allow the head to rule alternately with the heart.
Intellect must be applied if any satisfying musical result is to be
obtained. Emotion is good, but it needs curbing, shaping and
restraining. Emotion, long sustained and unbridled, becomes nauseating.
Emotion in itself is beautiful, but like fire and water, if it once
becomes the master, wastes and destroys. Emotion, aroused by imagination
and directed by intelligence, serves to give taste to all musical
rendition. One without heart is non-satisfying as a singer. Be he ever
so intellectual, his singing is cold. Intellect alone, unaided by heart,
is like polished steel--cold, brilliant and dazzling. Intellect and
heart combined are like the same surface engraved and enamelled in
artistic design--chaste, delicate and finished.

Time Ends Not.

We may say with Emerson that "Time has his own work to do and we have
ours," and with Wood, "Labor is normal; idleness, abnormal," but in
music there must be times of cessation from labor. Call it change of
work, if you choose rather than admit that labor has ceased, but
experience shows that no musician can safely follow his calling year in
and year out, with no regular period of rest, and save his mind and
body. Sooner or later comes a collapse. The human machine breaks down.
Then we shall think of Emerson and Wood as unsafe leaders. Time has his
work, but he works in such deliberation and in such ever-changing form
that were he one who could feel fatigue, he need not feel it. Time is
from eternity to eternity. Time does not occupy a human machine. The
music teacher does. Many a teacher has toiled beyond his strength this
year. Many will next year. Who will take thought for himself and break
loose, if but for a few weeks, and postpone the time of breaking down?
One might say, that with Time, the human soul is from eternity to
eternity and there is no breakdown. True, but the residence of that soul
while it is in this period of existence, demands much of its attention.
That cannot properly be given when the exacting duties of the class-room
drag on week after week, till they number fifty-two, and then begin at
once another weary round. Admit that there are limitations, and, in
cordial co-operation with existing laws, select and use the days of
idleness, even if one has said that idleness is abnormal.

Power of Thought.

The power of thought to exert influence is only in our day being
understood. How to utilize it is not yet in such degree of comprehension
that it can be told so that all are able to use the force which they
contain. Thought is a tangible essence passing from the human mind and
lodging upon the object toward which it is sent. Definite thought is
more powerful than is illy defined thought. Speech enables us to
crystalize thought and to empower it with added force. The time given to
framing sentences enables us to put thought into definite form. A step
beyond speech is obtained in singing. When learning our songs we revolve
the thought to be expressed in mind. The measure of the music gives time
to concentrate the thought contained into its most powerful form. The
rhythm and vibration which accompany music and singing, enhance the
power of thought. Whenever we sing in the true spirit of the sentiment
uttered we send out shafts, so to speak, of pure thought. Not one of
those is lost. It lodges somewhere, and as all good can never do harm,
our good thought, sent in song, must do good to those who come within
our influence to receive our good shafts. A singer who uses music for
vain display loses the opportunity for good. There is no good thought in
such singing. If there is any thought at all it is of the lower order.
It lodges also, but it appeals to that which is vain and low in our
hearers. What wonder is it, then, that ofttimes our hearers make unkind
remarks about us and our singing! It is our fault that we have stirred
up in them the spirit of vanity and criticism. Our thought has often
challenged such spirit in them. Let our thought be changed, and only the
good which is contained in poetic art sent out to them and their
attitude toward us will change. There is no unpleasant thing which comes
to us but that we stimulated it and created it. We can make our musical
surroundings by sending out powerful shafts of pure thought.

Nature Seldom Jumps.

Nature seldom moves by jumps, and a student who reaches the best use of
his voice learns that he must do that through natural laws. In other
words, that he must acquire all things through naturalness. What wrongs
have been done to students under the shield of so-called naturalness!
Many teachers who claim that they are cultivating the voice by natural
laws, know nothing of what it means to be natural. Naturalness means the
expression of our own nature. If a teacher uses the natural method he
but points out to his pupils their true natures and holds them to that
correct use of such that they return to their normal condition. The
necessities of our modern living have made most of us feel that we must
put a side of ourselves outward which shows off well. In singing we
develop abnormally something which we fancy will please our hearers and
bring us applause. We try to hide our defects and admit that we do.
Aside from the question of honesty, is it policy to do so. Most firmly,
should be the answer, No! It destroys the naturalness of the singer and
substitutes artifice. Any spurious issue will be detected sooner or
later. Besides, is it not much more comfortable to have the real than
the counterfeit? Be natural, then. Many students are impulsive. It was
to these that the remark that "Nature seldom jumps," was made. In
natural action everything is deliberate and restful; controlled and
sure. Nature makes but few angles, but moves in graceful curves. Good
quality of tone on one note and poor quality on the next, is not
natural. Nature does not jump from one voice into another. Nature
demands symmetric cultivation of the whole voice, and not the display of
a favored part.

Be Perfect.

Do not be content to merely make progress. (If one feels that he is at a
standstill, or worse, going backward, he should stop all study till he
can go forward). Merely making progress means that to reach great
result, a long time must elapse. To make a great artist requires years
of musical and intellectual training; to be able to sing as perfectly
as the body is capable of acting, requires but a few weeks, or at most,
a few months. Why will students take lessons year after year and not
sing any better than they did soon after they began? It is not necessary
if the student is willing to go rapidly. "Be ye perfect," applies to
singing as well as to anything else in life. If the injunction to be
perfect has any meaning at all, and no one has any right to doubt but
that it meant, when it was spoken, just what the words contain, that
applies very thoroughly to singing. The very essence of life itself is
more fully operative in singing than it is in anything else. If so, to
be perfect in singing is to be perfect also in the essence of life. The
injunction was not to become perfect by a long course of training. The
present tense was used and it meant just what was said. "Be ye perfect,"
_now_. By proper mental conception of the true principle which underlies
voice culture and by demonstration with concentrated thought, the
possibility of any individual body can be at once brought out. On this
account, the long years of wasteful practice which people use in
cultivating the voice is not only unnecessary, but foolish and wicked.



     "_Observe how all passionate language does of itself become
     musical,--with a finer music than the mere accent; the speech of
     man even in jealous anger becomes a chant--a song. All deep
     things are song._"     =Carlisle=.



A teacher of voice and singing who does not believe his way is the best
in the world is in one of two positions:--either he is a scamp, passing
off spurious goods for real worth, or he is doing the best he can in his
knowledge and present situation, waiting for the time when he can obtain
instruction in a better method. If a teacher believes he has the best
way of teaching he has a perfect right to so express himself, and to use
that method in his teaching. He may be wrong in his opinion but that
does not effect his right to work on the lines of his opinion. Some day
something may show him he is mistaken and such a man will be very liable
to correct his error and, taking the newly found way, progress in that.

A teacher who knows he is far from right and still works on, is not
worthy of consideration as a teacher. One who uses the profession of
voice teaching merely for livelihood and who cares not whether he does
good or harm is little better than criminal. Such there be and such
there will be until a time arrives in which teachers will be granted
authority to teach from some recognized institution, without whose
permission to teach, it would violate a law of the land to advertise as
a teacher. Just such control as is kept over medical practice will some
day be had, but not in our generation.

Hundreds of teachers of the voice in all parts of our land are teaching
up to their light, hoping the time may come, and to most it does come
sometime, when they may get away from the office and study still farther
into voice and music, thus making better their ability. That class has
already done much for singing and music. It might be said that all that
has been done has come from that class, for no teacher feels that
nothing remains for him to learn. Singing, too, is a subtle thing. A
teacher feels every little while as if his good way were slipping from
him, and if he cannot get out of his work and brush up with a master, he
will lose all the ability he has. The best teachers do leave their work,
go to some other teacher, may be not better than they are, and have
their work inspected and made better. A salesman from a furniture house
once put the matter tersely:--"When I go out from the house on a long
trip, I start with a plan of what I will say and how I will make my
sales. In a little while I get rusty, and saying the same things over
and over again makes me hate them. Then my business falls off. I go into
the warerooms again for a time, hear the firm talk up goods in a new
way, meet other salesmen and hear how they talk, and off I go again on
my trip fresh and bright."

No work gets into a groove more easily than teaching. When working in a
rut the teacher produces small results. The successful teacher tries
every expedient in his power to get all the result he can. Sometimes, it
may be remarked incidentally, he is called by a pupil lacking in
appreciation and discernment, an experimenter, because he changes his
plan of working. But he can endure that provided he gets definite
results from his teaching. The best way for the teacher who must plod on
by himself through long years is that he should once in every few months
sit quietly alone and think over what his voice method is, how he is
applying it, and what the result is. Below is the thought of such an
hour condensed into comparatively few words. The heading of this article
indicates that this is the opinion of the writer at the present time.
The thinking which may come in the next ten years may show he could have
thought better now, but this is to him now, a perfect voice method.

The voice is produced by the body; it was originally planned for speech
and not for singing; attributes of the voice are range, power, quality,
and flexibility; into the voice can be injected, language; the action of
all physical portions are under the command of the mind.

There are four portions of the body which are brought actively into use
for the production and management of the voice, and these permit voice
culture to be divided into four departments. These must first be brought
into correct action. Natural action is correct action. What the world
has considered as correct action may be wrong, for on most matters the
opinion of the world is incorrect. A few clear-headed men have again and
again appeared in various affairs and shown the world the mistake into
which it had fallen. May be this is true of voice culture. It is safe to
follow nature. The first department of voice culture is, as most persons
admit, the respiratory department. Breathing. That goes on from the time
we are born till we die. Generally as children we breathe well and
correctly. When manhood arrives most of us have interfered with nature's
way of breathing and have interposed something quite different from that
we used earlier. This has come largely from faulty civilized eating, so
that the organs of digestion are constantly troubling us. The stomach,
liver, etc., exert decided influence on the diaphragm which is the chief
organ of respiration. We, also, have grown nervous as years have come,
because of the demands of active life upon us. That nervousness keeps
all the muscles of the body in a state of unnatural strain, and this
strain has even caused us to breathe differently from what nature
planned. The very first step toward good voice method is to bring the
breathing apparatus back to working order. As said above, the chief
organ of respiration is the diaphragm, and that is a large muscle which
cuts across the body at the edge of the ribs. Its centre, right in the
middle of the body is constantly moving downward and upward. When it
goes down the breath enters the body; when it comes up the breath comes
out. Stop that muscle and breath is held. Stripped of all confusion that
is all the description needed of inhalation, exhalation and
breathing-holding. If some who read this would not say that this is too
simple, and that they knew more than this article says, the subject
would be dropped there. At most, all that can directly be added is to
prolong the lowering and raising the diaphragm so that it is done by
long strokes. Some one says we have been taught about spreading the
sides, expanding the abdomen, filling the back, keeping the chest still,
and a dozen more things. Examine the above, and if opposing effort to
the free movement of the diaphragm in its upward and downward journey is
avoided it will be found that all which is of good in inspiration and
expiration is contained in the above. A most useful exercise for the
development of strength in this organ of respiration is to slowly
perform the act of panting in the same way that a dog pants.

But about holding the breath. That is the most important thing about
breathing. It says above that if the movement of the diaphragm is
stopped, the breath will be held. Sure enough. Then why can't we all
hold the breath? We can. Holding the breath in that way a little while
every day and caring to keep it so whenever using the voice will so
complete the strength of the diaphragm that it will stay still a very
long time, much longer than it takes to sing any phrase in music which
is written. The majority of pupils--yes, all of us, teachers and pupils,
when they seek to let the diaphragm stay still try to assist it to do
so. We try to hold the breath by the muscles of the chest, by those of
abdomen, or by shutting off the throat. Now these do not assist the
diaphragm to stay still, and on the other hand, they prevent the
diaphragm from staying still. They make it move. Some one says, or
thinks if he doesn't say it, that unless the diaphragm moves when we
begin to sing that no tone can be made. That is one of the mistakes of
the world. Some teachers have even said that we must press the air
upward as we sing, so that the vocal bands may make it into tone. That
is absurd. Keep back all pressure from the vocal bands. If the slightest
air pressure is put upon them they are over-worked. Hold still the
diaphragm and the air is held loosely suspended throughout the chest,
the bronchial tubes, the windpipe and the mouth. Then in this air the
vocal bands work. They will help themselves to just the right amount of
breath, to make into tone without any assistance from you. You can't
make nature work. You can permit her to work in her own way.

When we speak of the vocal bands we are talking of something which
pertains to the second department of voice culture--the throat. There
can be, and need be, very little said to the pupil about the throat in
its action during singing. Teachers do say many things. One thinks the
larynx--the protuberance known as the Adam's apple--ought to be pressed
down, and kept so. Another thinks it ought to be forced upward. Still
another says it should be allowed to be low at one time and high at
another. There is just one way of settling the matter. How is the action
when we act naturally? Nature built the throat for conversational voice.
If we are to use it for singing we can't do better than to follow the
suggestions of nature as to the way the throat moves while speaking.
Then on those ways let the throat act while singing. Sound several notes
with the same vowel in the conversational voice and see what the larynx
does. Some one suggests that this ceases to be conversation and becomes
singing. But it doesn't. Conversation runs easily through an octave of
tones. Generally we use three or four tones. When we are very quiet or
are sad the voice lowers a few notes. If we are very merry or are angry
the voice ascends. We talk at the "top of the voice," literally. If we
do so in speaking, surely we may lop off the many vowels and the
consonants and speak, conversationally--on several tones. It will be
found that the larynx moves freely. That being the case, he is a very
foolish man who could make the larynx go down and stay there. Again,
with the tip of the finger on the larynx say the different vowels. It
will be seen that the larynx changes position at each change of vowel.
Let it so change when we sing. The great opponent of such action is the
stiffening of the cords of the neck--the muscles on the sides of the
neck. In connection with the work to be looked after in the third
department, yet to come, the way of removing that stiffness will have
mention. Within the larynx there are many delicate muscles which are
performing their various functions. What they do, and how they do them
has been the subject of study through several generations and the
question is not solved. An eminent physician has for several years been
photographing throats while producing tone. About four hundred
different throats have been photographed. In an article published by him
in January of this year, he says: "I have not yet permitted myself to
formulate a theory of the action of the larynx during singing, for even
now, after a large number of studies have been made, the camera is
constantly revealing new surprises in the action of the vocal bands in
every part of the scale." With that true, the only way open for us is to
seek ease and comfort of action and never force any part of the throat
to overwork.

The third department in voice culture relates to the pharynx, or back of
the throat. It seems as if any thinking student would realize that in
order to acquire a rich tone, resonant with pure sound, the pharynx must
be allowed plenty of room, yet many shut it off making a very small
chamber. Well, it is the teacher's work to find some way to open a roomy
space. One of the best ways is to draw a picture of a cross-section of
the mouth from the lips to the back wall of the throat, showing a large
arch at the top of the section. Convey to the pupil's mind the idea of
room and he will be most liable to produce the room. Sometimes, although
it is of doubtful propriety to make any local application for special
purpose, the use of the word oh, as an exercise, will permit the pupil
to enlarge the pharyngeal chamber sufficiently for any need. This will
come up later in connection with another thought. A very important
branch of voice culture, the quality of tone, has to do with the
pharynx. Not much can be said of it now but just a little in connection
with a perfect voice method. When singing, we should express something.
The emotion in mind must have its appropriate setting. That setting
comes chiefly from the quality, and the quality arises from the shape of
the pharyngeal cavity. As in all nature's plan we must not try to _make_
the pharynx do anything. We may _permit_ it, and if we do, nature will
have her way and will do just right. The emotion of the mind expresses
itself upon the face. A face plastic and delicate, changes expression a
hundred times a minute, maybe. Just so, if we permit it, the emotion of
mind expresses itself on the pharynx. We cannot see the expression of
the throat as we can that of the face, but we can hear it. That the
pharynx may be able to receive the expression of the mind it must be
plastic and delicate. If so, just the right form will be assumed for the
idea we would express, and the proper quality would be given the tone.
We--many of us--don't permit this. We try to shape the pharynx. Stop
trying and let the muscles of the back of the throat come to a state of
rest. Then willing them to remain so, sing. Sing anything. Don't change
the feeling, and good quality will fill the tone wherever the voice
moves--whether it be high or low, loud or soft. So by this restful way
of singing the stiffness of the cords of the neck will be removed and
the larynx will move easily and flexibly. In fact, all rapid singing
grows out of the restful singing. The use of all embellishments, too,
comes through this restful singing. It is to be kept in mind that so
long as we employ artificial methods of holding the air column, and so
long as we force tones through rigid vocal bands, just so long will we
be prevented from obtaining restful action of the pharynx. Each part
must act correctly and no part must interfere with another.

The articulatory department is all which remains to be described.
Singing employs words, and words are made up of letters. Letters are
made up of consonant and vowel sounds. Consonant and vowel sounds, save
one alone, are made by changing the tongue or lips, or moving the jaw.
There are but few changes which may be made--less than a dozen. Six of
those pertain to the tongue, one to the jaw and three to combination of
tongue and lips. What these are need not be detailed now. Sufficient to
say that any action made during conversation may be made while singing
and must be made in the same way as in conversation. Two ideas advanced
by some teachers which are very wrong should be noted. One is that the
singer should practice with a spoon in the mouth to hold the tongue in
place. As if nature didn't know what the tongue ought to do! The other
is that the mouth should be widely opened, "to let out the tone," as old
singing school teachers used to say. The tone doesn't come out of the
mouth any more than out of the cheeks, chest or head. Allow the tone to
be made properly, then given quality and resonance by a well arched
pharynx and it will come out, no matter where or how. Someone asks if
there is any real objection to widely opened mouth. Certainly, there is.
Were it merely that the facial expression were destroyed, that would be
enough, but that is not the worst of it. Opening widely the mouth
destroys the shape of the pharynx and all richness is lost. Notice a
bell. So long as it remains bell-shaped, it has resonant ring. Bend its
shape so it resembles a pan and the ring is gone.

One thought more in connection with articulation. It used to be said
that all attention should be given to vowels. Not so, in the light of
to-day. Attend to the consonants and the vowels will take care of
themselves. Correct speech in song, only, will make good singing. While
watching the resonance of the tone as made in the pharynx note the
delays made by thoroughly (not violently) sounding the consonants. Those
delays, prolonged greatly, permit expansion of the pharynx, and perform
the work mentioned before which was given the vocal sound, _oh_, to do.

To sum perfect voice method up into a sentence it is that by which we
command with no apparent effort the column of air, keeping it away from
the vocal bands, and, therefore, permitting the quality of tone in the
pharynx to be pure; that by which the larynx acts freely, with no strain
upon it; that by which thought may instinctively make its impression on
the pharynx to give quality to the tone; and that by which we can make
consonants and vowels in that pure tone, so that words conveying the
thought of the mind may go out to our hearers.



     "_He who is a true master, let him undertake what he will, is sure
     to accomplish something_." =Schumann=.

     "_To engender and diffuse faith, and to promote our spiritual
     well-being, are among the noblest aims of music_."





Every song or other vocal composition should be analyzed as the first
step in its study. The first theme noted, and the second also, if such
there be; the connecting bars; the points which are descriptive or which
contain contrasts; the phrases which may present difficulties of
vocalization; the climax; and, as well, what relation the prelude and
other parts of the accompaniment bear to the song. It is probable that
before the pupil is capable of doing this by himself, the teacher must
do it for him, not on one song merely, but on a dozen or twenty. A wise
teacher will gather his pupils to hear him analyze music now and then.
It saves time at individual lessons, for the analysis will be understood
by a group as easily as by an individual. It matters not so much that
the pupils are not to sing those particular songs, for at the gathering,
the way to do the thing will be learned. Then as other songs are taught
at private lessons, the pupils will be prepared to receive quickly, the


Pupils may be sure that teachers do not find fault with them merely for
the purpose of finding fault. If the teacher is worthy [of] that respect
which leads pupils to study with him, he doesn't find fault except when
it is necessary, and then he does it with dignity. If the teacher is
constantly fault-finding, and does it in an irritable manner, you would
better leave him at once. Now and then we learn of a teacher who gets
his pupils so nervous that they burst out crying. It is not well to
remain long with such a teacher. The pupil goes to him with fear which
spoils the first of the lesson, and surely after the cry, the lesson is
spoiled, for no good vocal tone can then be made. At a lesson all should
be restful and dignified.


Next to him who makes no mistakes, is he who recovers from and disguises
the errors. At best a performance full of errors of pitch, word, tone
and quality is but a patched garment. Apply the mind to eradicating
every error. Perhaps the most common thing for students to do is to try
over again, while at practice, the music in which the error has been
made, but doing it without thought. It is far better to think what the
error is, what caused it, how it should be removed, and then begin the
practice which will remove it. Oh, if the hours of wasteful practice
could only be gathered up into useful hours, how much better off the
whole would be! The least wasteful thing is to stop practice and


When selecting songs for study for beginners, only those which have
smooth and well defined melodies should be selected. Modern composers
seek by the strangest harmonies, following each other without coming to
points of definite rest, to do things different from what has been in
use so long that it is looked upon as common. The pupils in their early
study cannot understand such music, and while bewildered by it, they
misapply what they know to be correct use of the voice. The first
selections should be simple, melodious, and of easy range. The songs of
Mozart and Mendelssohn are much better for early use than are those
which are being published now. As the pupil advances in the knowledge
of songs add in any quantity the latest and most weird music, providing
it has merit.


The phraseology of newspaper criticism often disturbs musicians,
especially those who are very sensitive, and sometimes arouses their ire
so that they make reply. In doing so they make a mistake. They place a
weapon for further attack in the hands of the critic and add to the
force of his remarks by showing that they have hit the mark. One does
not prize a shot which goes wide of the point at which it was aimed but
is quite proud if, by chance, he hits the bull's-eye. The sensitive man
in his reply shows how fortunate the critic is in his shooting. It is
not easy to bear the remarks of a harsh critic and it is much harder to
draw from them any good lesson. (Whether one may draw a lesson from
criticism is not open for remark at this writing.) Yet, when one gives
serious thought to the criticism which seems so cruel he will learn that
no one has been hurt by it except the critic himself. He has lowered his
thought from a high plain and has made his nature, thereby, coarse and
uncomfortable. That cannot come to anyone, even for a few minutes
without making him less manly. Out of the fullness of his heart at that
moment the critic has written and sent out into the world that which
lowers. What he sows, that shall he also reap, and in due time his
unkindness will come home to him. If he can bear his own act the
musician can endure it for the brief time that the "smart" is there.
None should ever forget that a man can injure himself but no one else on
earth can injure him.


Some of us are slow to learn the lesson, waiting for results. We feel
that at one bound we must and will achieve the great success which is
our ideal. Youth is enthusiastic and believes in itself. Nothing daunts
it, save the realization of limited success and that realization comes
not quickly. There are circumstances which cannot be forced; there are
laws which prevent our reaching too far or going too quickly. Under them
we chafe but in time we come to know that those laws place boundaries of
limitation about us. We then begin to inspect the laws just as one bound
with cords might be supposed to study his binding after having tried in
vain to tear himself free. Then is when he discovers that by knowing
natural law he can shape his course so that he is not antagonized but
aided by his environments and curbings. He then discovers that he can
even use the laws which seemed to restrain as his power. But it takes
long to learn that lesson. Stripes, which cut and burn, must have been
received before one can know that he must not fret and be impatient for
quick results. "Patience overcometh all things." "Seek and ye shall
find." Remember that the early fruit decays quickest. The rosy apple,
when all of its fellows are green, has the worm at the core. If you are
worthy of results they will come to you, but not in your way or time
perhaps. You can afford to wait.


Certain quotations and sayings, through familiarity, lose their point to
us. We not only are not impressed by them but forget that they are
truths. Do you recall "All things work together for good?" Does that
mean anything? Does it mean what it says? Does it mean nothing? It means
nothing or else exactly what it says, and you may be sure that the
latter is the true meaning. What are "all things?" The few which seem
bright, maybe; and those which to most of us seem evil, do not belong to
"all things." But may we not be at fault in our idea? We are, _we are_.
Whatever appears to happen to us (although nothing ever happens in the
common meaning of that word) belongs to "all things" and at some time we
will be able to look back and say from the heart that all was well with


Every shade of tone has a meaning which is either artistic or inartistic
and one who has developed his appreciation of artistic rendition can so
use his tone that just the right effect will be produced with his tone.
A noted cartoonist recently showed by two little dots the ability which
he possessed to change the character of his picture. He had drawn a
sketch of a sweet young girl; rosy cheeks and cherry lips; big sleeves
and a Gainsborough hat; the most demure and modest little girl ever
imagined. Then to carry out a joke he changed the position of the eyes,
just rubbing on two dots. The character of the whole picture now
changed. The demure little girl became the sauciest Miss that could be
imagined and one could almost imagine a shrug to the shoulders. Are
singers less able to portray in art than is the cartoonist? If we know
the resources at our command and how to use them we can give expression
just as well as any other artist can. We do not always know how small a
thing can change all expression. The bright face, the warmer tone, the
more elastic delivery of voice, quicker attack, all have their value in
expressing something.

Not enough attention is paid to personal appearance before an audience.
There are a few things which can be prepared before our appearance which
can make the whole performance more artistic. The way of walking across
the stage, taking position before the audience, manner of holding the
music, of turning its leaves, way of looking up while singing, way of
leaving the stage; all these have to do with artistic rendition. They
should be taught to pupils by the teacher and should become part of the
pupils' instruction. We give all attention to tone and that is only part
of the instruction which the student needs. The other matters must not
be left to chance. The little things point out the difference between
the singer and the artist.


A musical library should be a possession of every singer. There are less
than two hundred books on music printed in English, on subjects directly
connected with music and singing. These contain all which has been
printed which has any great value. Many are books for reference and a
few contain direct practical instruction. Each teacher and all earnest
students should see how many of these they now possess and plan to
develop the library. All the books need not be purchased at once, nor is
it wise to obtain books and put them away on the shelves just for mere
ownership. Get one book at a time, one a month perhaps, and read it
carefully enough to allow you to know what is in it. Then put it away
for reference. It takes but a few minutes to refresh the mind on what is
read. A dozen books a year added in this way will, in a dozen years,
give a valuable library. What is more valuable to the owner is that he
has lodged in his own mind for every day use more than a hundred good
ideas. Books taken from the public library and returned to it do not
have the lasting value that one's own books have. The sense of ownership
is worth something.


In these days of invention, discovery and progress, no one need be
ashamed of changing his opinions. In vocal music the ideas most commonly
held twenty years ago are being exchanged for something new. The man who
has made a change is often sneered at as "having a method." He may have
that, but he may only have advanced to new ground which is to be
occupied by common opinion a dozen years from now. The man who changed
early was in advance of his fellows and would attract attention. Who
thought, outside of a very small circle, only forty years ago, that the
music of Wagner would become the most popular of any age? It is to-day
the music of the present and we are already looking for a "music of the
future." The present time is, in the manner of dealing with the singing
and speaking voice, a transition age. Ideas which are being taken up now
were scouted as nonsense twenty years ago. They will be commonly
accepted ten years from now. It is better to join the army of progress,
and change early, even if it does raise a laugh.


Reputation which will last comes only by slow degrees. Man may spring
into notoriety at a bound because of some fortuitous circumstance and he
may hold the prominence which he gains by his strength of manhood, but
the cases of this kind are rare. It is by "pegging away" at something
which one knows to be good until by the merit of the "something" and the
worth of the labor put into it, attracts the attention of a few judges
of its worth, that a reputation is begun. It is begun then, only. Some
more of the same work must follow but those who have seen the worth now
assist in thought as well as in word and the circle which appreciates
the worth grows. When good reputation has begun nothing can stop its
growth except some unwise or unmanly act of the person himself. For this
reason no man need strive after reputation. Do well what is good and the
result will take care of itself. The reputation will not come because of
striving. It will come to any man who is doing good work and living a
right life. It takes time to make the lasting reputation and that
impatience which so often influences Americans, prevents the growth of
many a reputation.


Every singer should be an earnest student of poetry. There are minds to
which poetry does not appeal as does the practical prose. But in all
minds there is enough of latent love of poetry which can be developed
until poetry appeals with even stronger force than does prose. Can your
heart glow with the beautiful sunset? Do you joy over the song of the
bird? Has the spring blossom a message of delicacy to you? Then have you
that love of nature which can give you understanding of the poet. A
faculty of mind exercised grows with its use. A singer _must_ have
imagination. Without it, the best vocalization lacks the spark of true
life. Without it, coldness displaces warmth, and darkness, light. The
very essence of poetry is imagination. One word in poetry often suggests
that which practical prose uses ten words to express. The study of
poetry, that is, making poetry a study so that one knows what is in it,
helps make good singers. He who has not yet thus used poetry may well
plan something new for his winter evenings.


Mannerisms give knowledge to the observing person of our character and
intellectuality, and, on that account, are to be studied and used to our
advantage. Such as would prepossess our hearers in our favor should be
retained and such as would be unpleasant to the majority of people
should be trained out of our unconscious use. But few think long enough
about a singer to be able to tell their reason for liking or disliking
him. The voice and art may be good and yet the audience may not like
him. On the other hand, the voice may be meagre and the music faulty,
yet there will be personal charm which is captivating. The manners
which express the better side of our individuality will be those
retained. Certain it is, that manners are the expression of
individuality and there are no two persons whose action is just the
same, any more than that there are two faces or two voices alike.

It is doubtful whether one can judge the good and bad in mannerisms in
himself. We are so liable to accept our intention for actual performance
that we deceive ourselves. Then, too, mannerisms which would be
permitted in one place are not admissible in another. The ways of a
German dialect comedian would not serve the Shakesperian comedian nor
would the physical accompaniment of the songs of the London Music Hall
be proper for the _lieder_ of Schubert. The teacher enters at this place
and by judicious physical drill, based upon the knowledge of what is
wanted in true art, shows the singer what to cure and eradicate and what
to make more prominent, wisely retaining those mannerisms which show the
higher, nobler and more pleasing part of the singer's individuality.


Parents see the necessity of providing the means for their children to
learn to take care of themselves. A fortune left to a son frequently,
if not generally, proves a curse. A "good match" may turn out badly for
a daughter. A few hundred, or even one or two thousand, dollars invested
in musical education is sure to permit the son or daughter to earn a
comfortable living. It will be more than a generation before the field
for musical activity is supplied. More than that, in music, every
further elevation of the public increases their desire for better and
more expensive things in music. There is no prospect that the musical
field will be over supplied with artists and teachers. Happily, the
profession is open to women as well as to men. Our daughters can, then,
receive preparation for independence in it. The necessity for marriage
for mere living has gone by. Daughters are as independent of marriage as
are sons. The time was when boys were held in greater esteem and value
than were girls because they could take business positions and acquire
wealth. The new openings for women have changed this. Woman is making a
place for herself, not through the ballot and because of political
influence, but because she is taking position in the business and
professional world. Everyone, man or woman, should be prepared to take
some position which permits a living income to be made. Parents are
using music as the means of independence to their children. It is better
to spend the hundreds of dollars in education in music than to invest
that sum in any way to provide a fortune for the children. The
life-income from the investment is better for the children.


How often does every one of us make the "mistake of a lifetime?"
Probably everyone has made that remark many times regarding himself. The
circumstances of life have seemed to point out a certain path. We have
followed it. Later we felt it to be wrong. It was a mistake. Did it do
us any good? No. Did we learn any lesson? No. Will we not make another
"mistake of a lifetime" to-morrow, if we have the chance? Yes. Such is
human nature. So we go on. But there is another side to the shield.
There are no "mistakes of a lifetime," if we sum up the whole life. None
of us can do that yet, but we can put a number of years together and see
a result in them. How about that mistake over which you have been
mourning? Was it a mistake? Is it not possible that if you had what you
think would have been yours had you taken a different course, you would
be worse off than you are now? A young man who is making his mark
recently said, "I am glad my father lost his property. Had I been
supplied with a lot of money while at college, I would have been a
profligate." When the father lost his money he probably thought he had
made the "mistake of a lifetime." Which would any father prefer, poverty
or a wrecked family?

Many pupils rue a supposed mistake in the selection of a teacher. There
is no mistake. Every teacher who can attract pupils can teach something
and every pupil can learn something of him. The mistake, if one was
made, was by the pupil, in not learning what that teacher could teach,
and when he had gotten that, in remaining longer with him.

Don't talk about the mistakes but so shape circumstances that all events
may be used for good. There is something which can be utilized in
everything which happens to us. The bee finds honey in every
flower--more in some than in others, to be sure, but none are without


"It is the regularity of the laws of nature which leads us to put
confidence in them and enables us to use them." Thus writes Dr. McCosh
and he was a keen observer of men and things. His remark suggests that
teachers can and will be trusted and used who, by their regularity,
awaken confidence. He who attracts and enthuses can for a time command
attention. His work will only be lasting and his hold upon the musical
public be good when there is something of permanent value behind the
enthusiasm. Slowly but surely we are reaching the knowledge that in
music there is all of life, and that only as we make music part of
ourselves is our life rounded. We have reached the place when we can
feel that he who has no love of music suffers an infirmity akin to the
loss of sight or hearing. We have also reached the belief that everyone
must cultivate the musical faculty. We are passing through this life to
one beyond and he who raises himself nearest the perfect man, best uses
the span from birth to death. In and through music, especially on its
side of education, more can be done than can be in any other way.
General culture, college education, mental development are, in their
proper place, to be used but neither will do so much for man as will
music. In thus developing that faculty we acquire something also, which,
as executant musicians, gives us delightful influence over our fellows.
Such is the possibility of a teacher to so make mankind better that he
becomes a noble instrument of service in God's hand. But he who knows
his position best and by regularity of mind, body and estate, by system,
certainty and reliability, obtains the confidence of the musical
public, can best be used as an instrument in that service.


Personal freedom of action must for a time be surrendered by pupil to
teacher but it should be for limited time only. The impress of the
teacher's mind can be made upon the pupil in two seasons of study if it
can be at all. Perhaps most pupils receive all that the teacher can give
them in six months. As soon as they have that should they leave that
teacher? Not at all. They should then begin the use of their own
individuality--letting it, little by little, assert itself. The
practical application of individuality should be as carefully attended
to as is any part of the pupil's education. Perhaps it should have more
attention. More than one, more than a thousand, every year wrecks her
good and great future by what we term wilfulness or waywardness. The
name is misapplied. The individuality is then asserting itself and it is
then that the pupil needs the skillful and firm hand of the master. The
keen clear judgment which comes from experience is worth to the pupil
more than the cost of many lessons. The life is planned then. It is a
time of bending the twig; the tree grows that way. The wrecking which is
so often seen arises because the pupil changes to a teacher who does
not understand the case. The new teacher must study it all over. Before
that can be done the pupil is spoiled and disappears, disappointed and
disgusted. Receive the personality of the teacher, pupils, but then
allow him to lead you onward as you bring out your own individuality.


Educing is bringing out or causing to appear. Teachers impart and call
that educating. The reverse of the common way is best. Instead of
imparting all the time to the pupil seek to draw out from the pupil that
which is in him. Cause it to appear. In this way will one's teaching
faculty be improved and he will become the better teacher. Often the
education must be against counter influences and, it seems frequently,
as if it were against the wish of the student himself. Yet the skillful
teacher can overcome the prejudice of the pupil and the adverse
influences, and reach his results. A help in thus using one's skill lies
in the fact that what is to be drawn out lies divided into two distinct
classes. One is that which pertains to execution and the other to
knowledge. They are widely separated. The first is to be trained so that
it cares for itself without the thought of the student or singer and
the other so that it is always ready to respond to the quickest thought.
There is in the two classes variety enough to keep the most active
teacher on the alert and to make for him the highest kind of
ministration to mankind which is open to anyone. Later may come the
comfort of joining the two classes, synthetically, thereby making the
rounded and completed artist.

It occurs to one's thought at once that he who would draw out what there
is in another, must know something of the machinery which he would cause
to act and also of the mind which is in command of that machinery. This
is the basis of the teacher's education, without which he cannot be a
good teacher. As a young teacher he has the right to teach those who
know less than he does. He imparts then. As an educator he must be more
than what he was at first. He must keep his own education above that of
his fellows and he must become able to educe.



     "_Art! who can say that he fathoms it! Who is there capable of
     discussing the nature of this great goddess?_" =Beethoven=.

     "_Whatever the relations of music, it will never cease to be the
     noblest and purest of arts_." =Wagner=.




All vocal tone used in singing when produced at the vocal bands is small
and probably always about alike. The tone which we hear is "colored",
"re-inforced" etc., on the way from the vocal bands to the outer air. In
order that the tone shall carry well and be heard in purity throughout a
hall, the initial tone must be added to. This is done by its
reverberation in cavities where there is confined air. By confined, is
meant, air which is not being greatly disturbed. There are four such
cavities, or chambers, in connection with the production of voice. The
chest, the ventricles, the inner mouth and the nose. To have the tone
resonant the air in these chambers must be held in confinement. The way
they can be utilized is best illustrated by the drum. A blow on the
drum-head sets the air in the drum into vibration and that air
re-inforces the tone caused by the original blow. Tone made by the
vocal bands is re-inforced by vibration in the chambers of the body, and
the connection of these chambers with the outer air sets into vibration
the air of the room.

Something might be said about the thickness of clothing to be worn over
the chest while singing. It is certain that thick woolens worn during
singing, absorb much of the vibration of the tone and lessen the amount
of voice. Tone comes from the whole body and chiefly from the chambers
in which air is confined. Our singing tone does not come out of the
mouth alone. It comes from shoulders, back and chest without going near
the mouth.

The stillness with which the air is held in the chambers of vibration
has much influence upon the volume of tone, and upon the quality. Just
now we will consider the chamber within the mouth. The space between the
back of the throat (as seen in a mirror) and the teeth is this chamber.
The air in this must be held as still as it can be. The practical way of
doing it, and the way of telling pupils how to use themselves so that
they can do it, tax the ingenuity of the teacher. A picture, or an
image, is the best way perhaps. The air in the mouth should be like the
water of a still lake. Into it, at one end, a gentle stream may flow. It
does not disturb the lake. It causes a ripple where it enters. It may
raise the elevation of the water in the lake, and the superfluous water
may flow off at the other end of the lake. Now, suppose a mountain
stream comes rushing into the lake. It stirs everything up, and rushes
out at the outlet in the same rough way. In the still chamber of air in
the mouth there must be no "mountain streams." The quiet lake must be
imitated. A little air, which has been vibrated at the vocal bands may
enter it, and not disturb it. That initial tone, always a quiet one,
will be re-inforced by vibration in the mouth and will issue forth large
and round. The amplitude of vibration will determine its volume. The
shape and size of the cavity of reverberation can constantly and
instantly change and by such change the tone can be regulated.

The chamber of still air cannot be utilized unless the organs of
respiration are working correctly and strongly. A forceful blast of air
sent through the mouth will dissipate all vibrating waves. It is useless
to try to the initial tone until after the diaphragm is in good working
order. When that is all right then employ the re-inforcing chamber in
the way given above and resonance of tone will be obtained. It is by so
using the respiratory column and re-inforcing the tone made by the vocal
bands that a person can be made a good vocalist in a few weeks. It is
not necessary to take years to cultivate the voice. (It _is_ to make a
good singer.) From five to eight weeks, if the student does right, will
perfectly cultivate a voice.


All true art is delicate. Music is the most delicate of all arts. Music
is expressed through thought and emotion. In this, music has much the
advantage over sister arts. The sculptor can chisel his thoughts into
marble, and there they can imperishably remain. To what small extent can
he express human emotion! The painter also places his thought on canvas.
As his art is more easily within his grasp, to change at will, he is
enabled more fully to express emotion than is the sculptor. His finished
work remains. While at work upon it he may change here and there to suit
himself. That line and that shade of color, if not satisfactory, can be
changed. Not so in music. At one stroke--in one tone even--the musician
must express his emotion--and that expression, once uttered, is all that
he can use of his art. It is a delicate thing and requires sure thought,
complete mastery of emotion, and perfect ability in execution. Each and
every stroke must be perfect.

Voice culture is the preparation of the body and its
expression--voice--for use in this delicate art. Voice culture is that
through which we approach art. It cannot be roughly handled. If art is
to be delicately used, it must be delicately approached. He whose vocal
practice is forceful and rough will never know the delicacy of true art.
He may become a vocalist after whom the ignorant public will clamor, but
he can never be an artist. Seek the delicacy of true art, or decide to
be forever a rough mechanic. One may hew wood or quarry rocks, or he may
be a worker among jewels and precious stones. It is a time to say
"Decide this day which you will serve." The two masters do not belong to
the same firm and both cannot be served at the same time.


While singing, words and tone should agree. What does that mean, asks
one. It can be well stated when we consider how they do not agree. If
one sings "Sing ye aloud, with gladness," with a sombre tone the words
and tone belie each other. This result invariably follows the attempt to
cultivate the voice on vowels only, or on one single vowel. He who
watches tone while cultivating his voice reaches this result. We express
our thought while singing in words. Words are made by the organs of
speech, the chief of which are the tongue and lips. The tone receives
its expression from the pharyngeal cavity. If tone and words agree, the
tongue, lips and pharynx will work harmoniously in accord. It is when
one or the other does not work correctly that one belies the other.

Training of the organs of speech has been written upon so extensively
that for now more need not be said. Suffice it to say, that the organs
of speech can be trained upon a few enunciatory syllables in a short
time, so that every word can be distinctly understood. There is no
excuse whatever for our singers remaining so indistinct in their
singing. The way of getting the tone to agree with the words, is what
may be considered now. As said above, tone is regulated, so far as
quality goes, in the pharynx. That organ can be put into working order
and kept so through the expression of the face. The same thought is
expressed on the throat which is expressed on the face. The same set of
nerves operates the two organs. To show what is meant, recall that if
you hear someone utter a cry, you know from its sound whether it is a
cry of fright, of happiness, of fear, of greeting, of anger, or whatever
it may be. The position and shape of the pharynx has made the cry what
it is. One standing near the person would see on his face the look which
corresponds with the cry uttered. In this case the word and the tone
correspond. It is not easy to reach the pharynx for voice culture,
except through the face. It can be reached in that way. The tone for
general use in voice culture should be the bright one. Then the
expression during vocal practice should be a bright one. All vocal
exercises should be, on this account, practised with the face pleasant
and expressing happiness. This fact led many teachers, years ago, to
have their pupils smile while singing. It led to most ludicrous results.
The teachers said, "Draw back the corners of the mouth, as if smiling."
Very well. That may be good, but it has no particular beneficial
influence on the pharynx, or upon the tone produced. The mouth is not
the seat of expression in the face. Not that there is no expression to
the mouth, but its changes are limited. The eyes are much more
thoroughly the seat of expression, and through them the pharynx can be
reached. Let the eyes smile. Let the whole face take position as if one
saw something irresistibly funny, at which he must laugh. Practice with
the eyes in this way will brighten the whole voice. It will relieve
strain upon all the facial muscles and will render the organs of speech
more pliable, too. Having obtained such control of the eyes that one
expression can be placed in them, the student can attempt other
desirable expressions. He will find that whatever is used in and about
the eyes will affect the kind and quality of tone. He may arouse his
interest in some particular thought and hold that in mind as he sings;
the voice will then have warmth of tone and will readily receive
meanings. He may express varying degrees of surprise in the face and he
will find varying degrees, to correspond, of fulness and roundness go
into the voice. The use of expression in the face as a means of giving
character and quality to tone opens a field of experiment and experience
which will lead any teacher to practical and beneficial result. It is
not a new idea. Salvini, the great actor, has given some very useful
thought on that subject. Little of such instruction, important as it is,
has gone into print. Yet it is so important.


There are many who become teachers of singing without knowing what they
are doing. No one who wishes to enter the profession should be kept out
of it. There is room in it for many times the number engaged. It is to
be earnestly recommended, however, that he who intends to become a
teacher should decide beforehand what kind of work he intends to do, and
after he has begun, he should bend his energy to make that branch
successful. There are, at least, three distinct specialties of the
singing teacher. First, rudimental music; second, voice culture; third,
artistic singing. He who thinks he can excel in all has very great
confidence in his own ability. Perhaps most of those who become teachers
have no adequate knowledge of what the profession is, but enter into it
for the purpose of making a living. After becoming a teacher he
discovers that something is wrong, and the last person whom he thinks
wrong is himself. Probably he has never decided on a specialty and
properly prepared himself for that. Thus we see men who know something
about music, teaching singing. They know nothing of practical voice
culture, but attempt to teach singing. They ruin voices and wreck their
own happiness. The first duty of a singing teacher is to study enough of
anatomy and physiology to enable him to know exactly what parts of the
body enter into voice culture, where they are and how they work. The
dentist makes his specialty, filling teeth. But he would not be given
his diploma if he did not know anatomy. His course in the medical
college is the same as that of the physician. It differs in degree, but
not in kind. Such should be the education, to a certain extent, of the
vocal teacher. This education cannot be had from any books now
published. Plain anatomy can be given in books, but the student should
also see the parts described in the subject. He should then examine, so
far as may be, the action of these parts in the living body. He must
then make his own deductions. It may seem strange that that is
necessary, but such is the subtlety of voice culture, that hardly two
theorists agree in their deductions. Until some recognized body of men
decides on definite things in voice culture, reducing one's theoretical
study to practical uses must stand.

As important as such study, too, is the preparation of the artist mind.
One can teach voice culture mechanically and obtain good result, but be
very deficient in the art of music. It is often said that "Artists are
born, not made." That is a mistake. No man was ever an artist by birth.
Some men may be more appreciative of beauty than others but all men have
enough within them to serve as the basis of artistic education. That
education should be carried to a considerable distance before teaching
is commenced. Almost as soon as the voice is capable of making any tone,
music must be put into study. Appreciation of music itself as an art,
must be a part of the good teacher's preparation. Knowledge of greater
and better music comes from that appreciation with the years of
experience in teaching. If the artist mind has not begun to assert
itself before business is attempted, business will be likely to absorb
the teacher, and he stands the chance of never being an artist. One who
combines scientific knowledge of voice culture and an understanding of
the art of music is well equipped for entering the profession of
teaching vocal music. Only such should enter it. With that as
foundation, the experience of each year will make him a better teacher.
Without that as foundation he will probably remain, vocally and
musically, about where he was when he began. Financial success may come,
but musical success never can.


A very good reason, but one which individuals can attend to, why we have
so few artists among singers, is that so few take time to gain
experience. There must be many appearances before audiences before the
_amateurishness_ is worn off. Singers often think, when they hear a
noted singer, that they could do just as well as that and perhaps
better, and yet they cannot get professional engagements. It may all be
true, that they can do just as well as the artist, but in appearance and
self-command they may be deficient. Experience cannot come in a day or a
season. If it could what a crowd of singers would become noted. It takes
much time--years of time. One cannot safely feel that he has had
experience enough to place himself among the professional singers until
he has appeared at least fifty times. How many of our readers have done
that? Many visit the large cities and seek engagements who have great
talent and have the probability of complete success in them, but who
have had so little proper experience that their first appearance in the
large city, would be a failure. Managers of experience perceive this
state of affairs and refuse to give engagements on that account. Gain
that appearance necessary to the artist by singing before public
audiences everywhere, at church festivals, benefit concerts, parlor
receptions, college recitals, anywhere where an audience can be
entertained. Study your influence over your audience and learn how to so
express your art in your voice and singing that your audiences are your
subjects. Concert after concert must pass before you know your own power
in song. Year after year will go bye, before it is safe to approach the
critical audiences of large cities.


When singing before an audience in a hall, do not look on the music. A
glance at it may be made from time to time but keep the eyes off. A
singer appears very ridiculous if he looks on the page. A song is a
story told by the singer in the singing voice. It is not a lesson read
from a book. The story cannot be well told if the singer has only half
learned it. If he is confined to his notes he attracts attention to
himself and that spoils art and the artist. It is best to learn by rote
the music to be sung, and when it can be done, to leave the music in
some place out of the hands. If it must be carried, have it as much out
of the way as possible. A singer of much fame, spoiled his evening's
work recently by fixing his eyes on his music all the time while
singing. This may have been an exceptional evening, but if he does that
all the time, he is no artist, in spite of his repute, and ought not to
receive engagements even if he has a fine bass voice.


The man makes the musician as does the musician make the man. The rules
of life which make men better make the musician better. There is a
constant call in life to "Come up higher!" He who has lost the sound of
that call is at a standstill, or rather, since there can be no stopping,
he is sinking from the place once gained. Get within the sound of that
call and heed it. There are no heights so great, but that they form the
base to heights beyond. Music is so rich and full that no man can
understand it all and no man has reached the highest place in it. The
call ever sounds "Come up higher!" Music fills all which contains life,
and uses all materials for its transmittance. The air, a subtle ether,
is filled with a still finer ether, on which sound travels. That ether
is filled with vibration. It is ever present. The connection with it can
be made at any moment and the musical thought can be sent off into
unlimited space, to influence all within that space. To be able to use
this at its best the thought which is musical must be raised to divine
thought. The possibilities in that are boundless.

Musicians cannot stop. The year may roll around and one may feel himself
doing a great and good work, doing a work which seems to be well
rounded; a work which leaves the musician, as the end of a season rolls
around, exhausted from labor, and ready to say that the end of his work
is reached, that he has gone to his greatest height. Not so, however.
Next year is a height to be ascended, and that of the present moment is
but the base of that greater height. Music calls "Come up higher."


An untrained voice can never have correct emotion expressed in it. The
voice responds as truly to the thought which passes in the mind as does
the leaf bend before the breeze. The singing voice is an extension of
the speaking voice, and since nature planned only for speaking purposes,
in order to have the organs which produce voice in proper condition for
singing, there must be that degree of physical drill which makes the
vocal apparatus able to convey in proper pitch and quality, the thought
of the mind. The untrained voice will not do this. The throat becomes
rigid, the pharynx strained and in-elastic. Emotion cannot be expressed
when the vocal apparatus is thus held. One may have a beautiful natural
voice and he may arouse the enthusiasm of certain of his hearers, but he
cannot, without careful training do a tithe of what he is able to do.
That is sufficient reason for teachers to urge all who sing at all to
place themselves under the best of tuition. All who talk pleasantly have
the power to sing. The exceptions to the rule are so few that they
amount to but a very small percentage. But all who do sing, if they
would rightly use their gift should train themselves to do whatever they
do, well.



     "Character is the internal life of a piece, engendered by the
     composer; sentiment is the external expression, given to the work
     by the interpreter. Character is an intrinsic positive part of a
     composition; sentiment an extrinsic, personal matter only."




The very first question to ask of an applicant for vocal lessons is
"what is your ambition?" By that, I mean, the teacher should know at the
very start what purpose the pupil has in study, or if he has any
purpose. The intention of the pupil should make a difference in the
consideration given to the pupil in the matter of voice trial. If an
applicant says he wishes to sing in Opera and the teacher sees that he
lacks all capacity for such high position, he should frankly say so; if
the applicant says that he wishes to learn to sing well that he may have
pleasure in his own singing and give pleasure to his friends, that
should be taken into account. Such person, provided he has any voice and
musical instinct, can reach the height of his ambition and his study
should be encouraged.

The first visit of an applicant to a teacher is a most important event
in the life of the pupil. The importance of it is not appreciated. To
very many persons it marks a change--a veritable conversion--in their
lives. A mistake made by the teacher with regard to the future of the
pupil is a serious matter. That visit gives the teacher his chance to
plan his treatment and is akin to the diagnosis of the physician. The
pupil places himself in the hands of the teacher as thoroughly as does
the patient give himself over to the physician. The case assumes
importance from this fact. Responsibility by the teacher is assumed. The
musical future of the pupil is in his hands. It may be for the good of
the pupil that he found his particular teacher and it may not be.

"What is your ambition regarding your music?" is the safeguard of the
teacher. Knowing that, he can have a basis for examination and a ground
for promises to the student. In the large cities, teachers are troubled
with that which would be very amusing were it not for the sad part of
it. Students of music come from the smaller cities and from the country
and begin a series of visits to the different studios for the purpose of
selecting a teacher. Everyone seems to recommend a new teacher and the
student calls upon all. The result is surely disastrous to the pupil. He
or she is left in doubt as to whom to go for study. The different
promises made, the compliments paid, the hopes of ambition raised, are
all enough to unbalance the judgment of older heads than those who
usually seek the music studio. When a teacher is finally selected, it
takes a long time to settle down into confidence in him so that the best
result can be obtained. I said it would be amusing to the teacher were
it not sad. I have known persons to boast that they had had "as good as
a lesson" from the different teachers visited. I even know men who are
teaching voice culture and singing in this city who claim to teach
certain methods, and all they know of those methods is what they picked
up in the interviews which they pretended were to see about arranging
for study. As if any man of experience would give (or could give) his
instruction in a talk of ten or fifteen minutes! The men who have ways
of teaching which are so good that they bring valuable renown are too
shrewd to be caught in any such way as that. What shall be done about
such persons? Nothing. Let them alone. They die out after a time. Were
there any way to prevent other people from following their example it
would be a most excellent thing. But as society is made up, as long as
the flash of a piece of glass passes for the sparkle of a diamond just
so long will the cheater spring up, flourish and disappear.

A question more to the point is "How can the racing from studio to
studio be stopped?" I frankly say that I do not know. Generally I avoid
bringing up a subject which has not in my own mind reached solution. I
can suggest remedies if not cures.

By writing about it some little help may be given the student. The
remedy--nearly all city teachers have some special branch, a branch in
which they obtain satisfactory results. One succeeds in Italian Opera,
another in Voice Culture; one in Rudimental Study, another in Oratorio;
one has many pupils in church choirs, another forms delightful classes
of society pupils. "What is your ambition?" Find that teacher whose
general reputation is in that which you want to do and be, and commence
study with him. A very few lessons with that teacher--say ten
lessons--will tell the student whether he is the right teacher or not.
Probably the teacher will prove satisfactory. If not, by that
time--acquaintance with the teachers of the city will permit more
certain selection, the second time. "But," say you, "those ten lessons
have cost something." True, but they have not cost half as much as it
costs to settle an unbalanced mind.

To return to the first question, what is your ambition? Has it ever
occurred to you to wonder what becomes of all the music students--how
many are there? Who can tell? One teacher boasts of having given four
hundred vocal lessons last month; another caps that by claiming five
hundred. Allow for all exaggeration, and say that these teachers (and
thirty or forty others had as many students at work) had all they could
do. They had from thirty to fifty pupils under study. What is to become
of them, and how many ever amount to anything? The teacher has
responsibility. He who receives every person who applies, especially if
he tells him what a good voice he has and how well he can sing after a
term or two, borders very nearly upon the scoundrel, or else the fool.
If he thinks he can make a singer out of every person who comes to him
he is the fool; if he flatters a person whom he knows can never become a
singer, he is a scoundrel. He who is wise will find out the desire of
the applicant and tell him frankly whether or not he can reach the
desired goal. If he thinks it cannot be done there is no objection to
his pointing out some other channel of musical usefulness and advising
him to enter that. If the applicant has no aptitude for the desired
study the only honest course is to tell him not to waste time and money
on his voice. Any conscientious teacher feels a shudder sometimes over
the responsibility of his position when the thought comes up "what
becomes of all the music students?" We can ask "what becomes of the
pins?" and have the question answered. The material of which they are
made can be supplied anew. "So," say you, "will new pupils come." But
those who are now studying must be made something of. The day they begin
study a new world opens to them. Is it for good or ill? That remains for
the teacher to solve. Every true teacher improves every pupil who
studies with him. Some of them will become good singers and fine
musicians. These are the ones most talked about and the teacher finds
pleasure in the added reputation which they bring, but the others have
the right to demand that they shall be raised to a higher plain of life
because of their music lessons.

What becomes of all the ambitious youths and maidens who study singing?
Only one or two now and then amount to very much in professional life.
Thousands attempt to be "Patties," but who has reached her height? Some
one is at fault that this is so. Whatever belongs to the singing
teacher, let him assume, but let him keep in mind that there is
something to guard in the future. Over in Milan, ten years or more ago,
while a student there, I met a great many Americans who like myself were
there for study. I was told that at least two thousand American young
ladies were there. Probably more than half of them expected to become
successful singers in grand opera. How many successful singers in grand
opera have appeared during the last ten years? A very few surely. What
has become of the "ninety and nine?" Of that, say nothing. I saw the
wretched lives they were leading at Milan--most of them--and advised,
nay, begged, that they would go home to America and do anything for a
living if they must work, rather than to stay there. Taking in washing
would be much more ennobling than what some of them were doing. Whose
fault was it that so many were there, and that so many are there all the
time? Teachers of singing here at home must sooner or later realize that
they did it. How, when, or for what purpose? Well, much might be said
which will not be. Had an honest expression of the belief regarding the
possibility of gratifying the original ambition been given, very much of
the wrong done could have been avoided.

One of the reasons why many people try to learn to sing is because some
one has urged them to do so. The person who arouses the interest in
another does a necessary act, and yet there should be a good degree of
caution used in the matter. This article will be read by thousands who
are now students, and as the aim of the magazine is to educate, let us
see what word can be formed in the idea of this paragraph, which will
make students better able to use judgment in inducing others to study.
Do not cease in the efforts to bring others into musical work, but let
your effort be tempered with discretion. When you hear a person sing who
evidently enjoys it, whose face beams with pleasure, and whose voice
pleases her hearers; when, in a word, you hear one who has a voice, and
has intelligence enough to understand himself and his music, then learn
if he has given serious study to music. If not, urge him to see a master
at once. Do not, however, when you hear a person labor through a song,
with act painful to himself and everybody else, urge him to go a
teacher, "and learn how."

Well, reader, "What is _your_ ambition?" Have you any? If not, get one
pretty soon. I would say that before another sun sets, you should have a
settled purpose in your vocal study and follow that purpose to a
definite end. That matter settled you will do more than ever before. It
is a matter which _you_ must settle. Others may suggest and advise, but
you must decide it, yourself. I would not continue study without a fixed
purpose. A poor purpose is better than none. Shall I tell you of some of
the ambitions which students have, and say a word about them? Perhaps
you will get a useful idea from that. The best use of lessons in music
is that you may know music and how to use it for pleasure wherever you
may be placed. This means that the study should be for education itself
and not for the financial return which the study may bring. Study for
the culture of a beautiful art--for the improvement of the mind, for the
refinement which comes with associating with that which is pure. When
one tells a teacher that this is his ambition, he will in many cases
find that the teacher wishes him to work for something besides. A church
choir is something of that sort. There is no reason why one should not
have other ambitions, but the highest ambition which one can have is to
make himself a musician of the highest and best kind. The whole journey
toward becoming such is pleasant. Whoever goes but one mile along the
road has his reward, and each additional mile brings its additional
reward. Anyone can have this ambition in his study, and he who is most
faithful and has the most intelligence will make the most progress and
do the best in a given time. People who have little or none of that
which is called musical genius can so develop that talent which they
possess that they will be accounted musical. Those who have more can do
almost anything. The class of persons who study with this ambition is
larger, proportionately, in small cities than it is in the large ones.
It is a fact that people are, in many small cities, better educated in
music in which they can participate individually, than are the people of
large cities. The students enter for long periods of study and follow
those studies which do them the most good. With them the ambition to be
musical and to have a good musical education is upper-most in mind. It
is the best ambition to have. Even if no other use is made of the
study, that education well repays one for all the time and money devoted
to it. The choicest moments of life are while directly participating in
music, or while engaged in that of which music is the accompaniment. Our
association with friends in their homes and in our own is sweetened by
music; our tired brains are rested at the concert, the opera, and the
theatre; our seasons of deepest devotion and greatest spiritual delight,
when we are at the house of worship are made more holy because the
sacred words are beautified by music. Every act which can be looked back
upon even to the child days, when the little songs of the school
children were ours, has its embellishment of music. Whatever we do to
increase our appreciation of music, to make us better able to make
music, and to add to the charm of life of our own circle, is profitable.
The good of it comes to us every day, and in addition it prepares us the
better for that higher life to which we are all hastening, because it
makes more beautiful the soul. The ambition to study for music itself
is, then, the best ambition to have.

The majority of those who present themselves to the city teacher wish to
sing in church choirs. The reason is plain. There is some chance for
financial return. There is also on the part of many a certain sense of
duty to the church which they wish to fulfil by participating in its
services. There are many things to be said on this whole subject and
when such things are spoken it should be with no uncertain tone. The
ambition to become a church singer should be held within certain bounds.
The path to become such and the gratification which comes from the work
accomplished are not such as most persons think they are. Of course the
study to become able to sing in a church choir is altogether delightful.
To prepare the voice so that it can be used as a means of interpreting
the best church music is the best part of voice culture. Tones of good
power, pure quality, evenness, and fair range, are absolutely necessary.
No greater pleasure comes into voice culture than the training to be
able to do just such work. Then the music of the church is satisfying.
There is more to it than the light music of the parlor or light opera,
more that appeals to deep feeling, more with which we can arouse our

With regard to the wish to serve the church by our vocal powers, it may
be said that while that is laudable, it is one that disappears very soon
after one has the chance to put it into practical use. The wish is a bit
of sentiment, and there is nothing like the practical to dispel
sentiment. This brings us to a consideration of the choir and whether
the ambition to become a choir singer is worth anything or not.

In small places the choir singer is at once a person of some note. That
note which the position gives has a value. The country choir becomes a
sociable club (although composed of only four persons) and the
friendship which each has for the other is a thing to be prized. Country
choirs generally practise enough to have the voices blend and to have
the singing good. There is some pleasure in singing in such a choir. But
does it pay, financially? In some places it does, and he who is in a
paying position in a country choir has the best place of any one in
choir work. How many, though, of those who go to the teacher with the
ambition to study for the choir would feel contented to take such a
place as that? No, they want a place in the city choir, and at large
salary. Have they ability enough to fill such position, and could they
hold the position if they obtained it? The competition for choir
positions in a city like New York is very great indeed. Let it be known
that a vacancy is to occur in any church choir and hundreds if not
thousands of applications are made. Only one person can have the place.
The work of selecting one person out of the many applicants begins. It
is at this point that the student feels the sentiment regarding singing
in church begin to disappear. She feels that she is not being given a
fair chance. She supposes that that which would give her the position is
good voice, good singing and a good character. As sad as it may seem,
she is decidedly wrong.

That which is wanted in most city churches is "style" in body and dress,
a comely face and vivacious manner. If the applicant lacks these she may
as well not try, no matter what her musical acquirements may be. In
fact, there are many singers in church choirs of New York and Brooklyn
who haven't the least claim to be singers at all. Then regarding pay for
choir singers in these cities. There is very little money in it.
Salaries have been reduced and there are always those content to take
the places at the lower figure. The majority of singers in these cities
get less than $300 a year. Deduct from that the cost of car-fares, extra
clothing, and the little incidentals which count up, and not one half of
that amount remains as income. That does not pay to work for. The time
and labor used in earning it could be better used in something else. A
better money return could be had from that time in a dozen different
things by any person who has ability enough to become a singer in a city
church on salary. Nor is the possibility of obtaining a greater salary
in later years to be taken into account. If an increased salary does
come increased expenses come with it. Even if, after years of waiting,
the student makes herself a fine singer and is competent to take a high
place, she finds herself set one side for a fresh face and a new voice.
That is a picture which is not pleasant; but which is true to life.

One may ask if there is no work in choir or church for which one can
prepare himself and which will be pleasant and desirable. Yes, in two
directions;--first, when one is so trained that she is very desirable as
a solo singer--one who can sing sacred songs well--she can find a
position in which she has this and no other work to do. She then avoids
competition, because her fame attracts the church to her. She has no
long and trying rehearsals and she can be an artist as well as a church
singer. But how many years of study this takes! Is your ambition equal
to it? The second line of pleasureable work is, that of the
choir-leader. Unhappily for singers, in most of the city churches the
organist is made choir-leader; even in the vested choirs of the
Episcopal church. This is not well for the choir or the church, but we
must take things as we find them. When one is competent to superintend
the music of the church and can find a choir to take charge of he is a
happy singer. These two positions--of professional choir soloist and of
choir-director--are the only satisfactory ones in the large cities.

In connection with this it may be said that if one wishes to take a
prominent position as concert singer it is almost necessary that he
should hold a church choir position. At least he needs that until his
fame as a concert singer is great. Managers of concerts in various
sections of the country ask the very first thing, "Where does he sing?"
If he is connected with a city choir he is placed. The choir gives him

Concert singing is the field most widely opened and most easily filled
of any to which a singer can aspire. Every year the concert field
broadens. The so-called "grand" concerts of the last generation have
disappeared, and that is better for the singer. Concert singing is more
thoroughly a business and it is one worthy the ambition of any vocal
student. Not that it is always pleasant business--what is, for that
matter?--but it is something which can be entered upon on business
lines, and one can make a place for himself in it. His first work is, of
course, vocal and musical preparation. He should begin as soon as he can
sing well enough to appear before an audience at all, to sing whenever
and wherever he can get the chance. This is for practice and not for
pay. No one ought to expect pay before he has sung at fifty or sixty
entertainments without pay. He must have that amount of practice on his
audiences. If he has improved his opportunities his name will be known
by the time that period of experience is over and he can then begin to
demand a small fee. The smaller the better for him. He can then begin
to send his name abroad as an applicant for more remuneration. Step by
step he can improve in ability and increase his income. It is a work to
which all can be directed. It takes years to make any goodly success at
it. Three years are needed to make a good beginning, but when one looks
back over a life, three years of preparation do not seem long.

With regard to singing in opera and theatre a word can be given at
another time. An outline of what might be said is this:--grand opera is
very limited, and only few can become opera singers in grand opera;
light opera presents a good field for the gratification of ambition,
under certain conditions; the theatre presents a good field for
vocalists to those who feel inclined to enter theatrical life.



     "_Were it not for music, we might, in these days, say the beautiful
     is dead._"


     "_I verily think, and I am not ashamed to say that, next to
     Divinity, no art is comparable to music._"




Perhaps no one chooses to question the statement that length of human
life is greater in our generation than it was in the last, and much
greater than it was one or two centuries ago, in the face of statistics
which the medical profession puts forth. Question of such statement
implies a hidden motive in the medical profession. Possibly that
profession might have a motive in leading people to believe that life
lasts longer. If there is such motive it is for the good of men. It also
recognises the influence of mind over matter as a preserving force.
Doctors are anxious more than can be imagined to do all they can for the
benefit of mankind. No class of men (or of women, since we have women in
the profession) strives harder to do good. Their very code of ethics is
based on self-sacrifice. The inventions, the discoveries, the devices
which that profession now uses are such as bewilder and astonish one who
only now and then has a chance to see their work. But a generation ago,
and the sick man was loaded with charge after charge of drugs. It was
only the generation before, that the sick man was bled in great
quantities for every ailment. That was a change from generation to
generation. But a little while ago a new school of medicine sprung up in
which drugs were almost wholly discarded. Attenuation to the thousandth
or even the five-thousandth part, was used, and when drugs are so
attenuated, there is not much left to them. Such success has attended
the homeopathist that he must be recognised. Who shall say but that
another step may be taken or has been taken, in dropping the use of
drugs and medicines entirely?

All these schools and schemes have borne their part in prolonging human
life, or more properly speaking, prolonging life in the human body.

It is but recently that the influence of music in the cure of disease
has been given professional thought. Its influence has been known for a
long time but has not been properly placed and appreciated. This
discussion may be the one thing to bring it before the world.

Metaphysics--That is a word which we hear from mouth to mouth, nowadays.
What does it mean? Briefly "the scientific knowledge of mental
phenomena." We have almost come to think that it is something mythical,
or even relating to the supernatural. But it is "_scientific
knowledge_." Even our magazines which talk upon "Psychical Research"
drift off into spiritualism and hallucinations. The writers do not keep
to the text. Metaphysics is a science--and that science which deals with
the most real and tangible. It deals with phenomena. It deals with mind
itself. Now, mind is tangible and real. It is that part of us which came
from the Creator--was from the beginning--has no end--and is in these
bodies of ours for a time only. Which from this definition, is more
tangible? Mind or body? There is no longevity to mind. From eternity it
came--to eternity it goes. No measure can be applied to it. Body, that
which we see and handle and in which we believe mind to reside, is quite
another thing. It begins--it lasts for a time, ever struggling against
forces which tend to destroy it--and drops at last into Mother Earth or
the elements. That which we try to prolong is the existence in living
condition, of the body. The keeper of that body is the mind, and
whatever is done successfully to that body is done through the mind.
Medical treatment is well enough in its place, and I am not to quarrel
with the man who wants to use that, but mental treatment, (and I do not
choose to be classed with the various isms now before the public which
have grasped one corner of the subject and are tugging away at that) is
the one thing by which and through which the body is to be affected. By
that is human life to be prolonged.

Music affects the mind. If it affects the body it does it through the
mind. We say, when the dance begins that we can't keep still. What is
the "we?" Our bodies. Not at all. Our mental perception is alert, and it
recognises the vivacity of the dance and responds to it. In a moment the
body answers the mind and whirls out over the floor in rhythm and in
sympathy with the musical action. Again music seeks the minor thought
and we are subdued into seriousness, or maybe, worship of the beautiful,
the good, and God. Was it the body, fighting against disease and death
which thus responded? Not at all. The mind, in which there ever rests
the appreciation of all that there is in God, (and that includes beauty,
bounty and truth) felt itself influenced by the music. That influence
was extended to the body. You cannot enter good without getting good,
mental and physical.

There is nothing which has the tendency to reduce the average of human
life as much as debauchery. That causes early decay. That wears out the
body. That nourishes the seeds of disease. But, say you, if mind is the
controlling force over the body, metaphysics over physics, why cannot
one engage in any wildness which he chooses to fancy, and enjoy life. A
gay life and a merry one. Are we to come down into soberness and
somberness to preserve these bodies of ours? Can't we look back into the
days of a jolly good dinner with a draught, deep from the pewter pot, of
nut-brown ale, can't we joke with every pretty face we see, whether
under a bonnet or not, can't we even become Falstaffs, if we feel like
it, and yet keep ourselves alive to the full of days, if mind can
control body? Yes, yes! But can mind stand such things--can mind keep
itself in touch with the source of what is Good, in such conditions? If
it can, enjoy all debauchery. If not, for the preservation of self, keep
out of it. Now there are various kinds of debauchery, and not the least
of these is music itself, wrongly used. And herein lies the point which
I would make. Herein lies the point of the practical, or you may say if
you choose, the didactical, side of the question; the point where our
music touches our longevity. Music of the intellectual kind is the only
music which can have ennobling influence upon the human mind and keep it
in equipoise. The dance, the sentimental, the pleasing, has its place I
admit. But to the musician that which lacks the scientific, lacks
everything. How many of us care to attend a concert, an opera of the
light vein, or that of a brass band, as perhaps we once did? That
pretty, catchy song, let it be sung ever so well, has lost an awakening
influence upon us. Even a Patti is gone by to us. We call a pianist
old-fashioned. Is he really so? Are not we becoming new-fashioned? Are
not we becoming so keenly alive to the intellectual that, unless we
watch phrases and periods, theses and antitheses, sequences and
cadences, melody against melody, we have no satisfaction in music. Then
we run from music to music trying to hear some new thing, until we
become almost unbalanced in mind. We become hyper-critical, sensitive to
faults, irritable over remissnesses, until those conditions become a
part of our disposition, and the musician becomes the crank. That is
musical debauchery and I contend that that will shorten the life of any
man. Which leads me to ask the question, can there not be such a thing
as an overdose of music, just as there is an overdose of drug? And does
it not behoove us, now that we have started a medico-musical-mental
treatment of this poor body of ours, to beware lest we shorten its
existence rather than prolong it.

But _Art_--that which calls for the highest in man--must surely be a
benefit to man. Mrs. Rogers says "Those who approach art because art
first reached out its arms to them, and who approach it on their knees,
with faith, with hope, with love, with religion, thinking not of self,
nor of aught that shall result to them from their devotion to it, but
that only through art, they may utter truth, and so fulfill art's real
purpose, and with it the highest purpose of their own life--those shall
indeed know the blessedness of power, of growth, of inspiration, of
love." Such art as that carries the mind down to the centre of all
things from which all good springs. That centre is Life. That life has
for its great attribute the re-cuperation--the re-creation of all which
it touches. The dwelling of that life--the body--is, by art such as that
which that noble writer just quoted describes, made young every day and
its days are prolonged on the face of the earth. This may be ideal
to-day, but so many times has it been true, that "the ideal of to-day is
the real of to-morrow," that even this may be the tangible medicine of
the next generation.



     "_Life is a series of surprises. We do not guess to-day the work,
     the pleasure, the power of to-morrow, when we are building up our


    "_Chase back the shadows, grey and old,_
      _Of the dead ages, from his way,_
    _And let his hopeful eyes behold_
      _The dawn of Thy millenial day._ "




Fortunately, no two persons are exactly alike. If they were, the result
would be the same and the everyday acts leading to a result would be the
same. Nature, acquiescing in the Divine plan, has a different line of
action and result for every individual which she creates. We find
unlimited variety in man. The seat of activity is the mind and the first
portion of the body to be acted upon by the mind is the brain. One man
possesses more convolutions of brain than does another, and the fibre
which extends from the gray matter to manipulate the many organs of the
body which we constantly use is finer in one organism than in another.
We recognize differences in classes of people and call one class
nervous, and another, phlegmatic. So strongly are we influenced by
public opinion that we honestly believe that a "slow" man cannot reach
so great result in a lifetime as can a "quick" man. General opinion is
usually wrong and it most certainly is in this case. Nature has a work
for each kind and each individual to do, the summing up of which, is the
result of that life, and if the gifts of each individual have been
properly used the result is success in life. It may be believed that the
usefulness of each individual, if the life of each is perfectly carried
out, will be equal to that of all others. The _apparent_ success may not
be _real_ success.

The active brain directs a responsive body. The more active the brain,
the more active can the body be made. To make the body useful at all,
the motion of its members must be well understood and perfectly
commanded. Herein lies the secret of success or failure. All want--not
wish--success. (A wish may be a whim.) The saying "One thing at a time,
etc.," has become obnoxious to us years ago, but in the idea contained
in that lies the path to greatest activity. The active mind spreads
itself. It schemes. All the plans which it suggests seem possible. Why
not carry them all out? Merely because life is not long enough, nor
mental and physical endurance strong enough, to do even the preliminary
work of one tenth of the schemes which can come to an active mind in one
day. Cut them all off. It might be well to say "First come, first
served," and take the first which comes and carry that to success,
concentrating all thought and force upon its accomplishment. It may be
a Higher Power which put the thought of that plan _first_ into mind.

Yet more narrowly would we draw the line which surrounds our activity.
One must make the most of his force and strength. In the case of every
man, woman and child living there is enormous waste of power. Much more
is wasted than is used. We have in years past stood beside Niagara and
thought if that power, apparently going to waste, could be used for
moving machinery it could run the mills of the world, forgetting, or not
knowing, that, in getting to the Falls, we wasted enough mental and
physical force to run our human machinery for a week. The thought flew,
changing probably twice a second, to how many different things in the
hour before. Computation is easy. In the sixteen working hours of a day,
perhaps, we think of 2000 things. Isn't that wasteful? Before the true
plan of nature is carried out some (if not three-quarters) of this waste
must be prevented. What has the body done in the hour before reaching
Niagara? The hands have wandered aimlessly, the feet have tapped the
floor, the watch has been looked at a dozen times, the hat taken off and
put on again, the card-case opened, half-looked at, and shut, and each
act, with twenty more, has been repeated again and again. It was waste
activity. It must be overcome. Nature never intended you and me to be
wasteful. These actions of mind, brain and body, are useful in their
places, but we misuse them, using up strength and power. Night comes and
we are tired out, or think we are, which amounts to the same thing. Who
said "One thing at a time" was obnoxious to him? To gain our greatest
power we must bring ourselves down to "one thing at a time." Put your
mind on that one thing. Are you sharpening a pencil just now? Don't read
a book at the same time. Are you placing your hat on your head? Don't
brush dust off the coat. Are these things trivial? Nothing is trivial in
nature's plan. Do not, in impatience, without trial, cast aside these
suggestions. Even give one hour each day for one week as a trial to
doing what you do, perfectly, and think of it as a trial. The increased
result in mental and physical activity will demonstrate the wisdom of
the advice.

Strength is essential to successful labor. Wildly beating the air in
undirected effort is the element of greatest weakness. We smile at the
antics of two chickens in their fight in the farmyard. In a few minutes
they wear themselves out and go off to rest. Are not we much like them?
Do we not use up our strength in useless effort? Then, how often we rush
off to the gymnasium or to the drug-store in the vain hope of regaining
our strength. New strength is not to be found in either place. It is
within ourselves all the time. Stop the expenditure and permit
re-cuperation through concentration. Don't go lie down. Don't take a
nap. Stop right where you are and bring the thought down to one thing,
_strength_. For the moment allow the body to remain still. Think
strength, desire strength, command strength! It is yours. It belongs to
you. It is all around you. It will take possession of you if you permit
it. What say you? That it will not come at your bidding? Are you sure?
Have you cleared the mind of the cobwebs--the two different things per
second which can come into it? Have you? Until you have, don't give up
the test. Concentrate the thought upon strength, if that is what you
want, and it will come.

Impatience is waste. You cannot afford it. It is too expensive. We are
all children. We see a toy and we must have it instantly, even if it is,
as it often is, a sharp tool, which cuts our hands. If that which we
wish belongs to us, or is to be given to us, it will come in its time.
We wish to do something _now_. We haven't the means, or we don't see our
way clearly to do it. We bemoan our hard luck, and can't see why we
can't have it. Just so does the child about the toy. Wait patiently, and
if, in nature's plan, the thing is to come to us, it will come, and we
can't prevent it. It will seem as if it came itself. Impatience merely
wears us out and uses up strength which nature wishes us to use in some
other way. Obey nature and carry out her purposes.

Activity which is useful, comes through directed effort. There may be
_seeming_ activity which is worse than sluggishness, and which is
certainly not desirable. Directed effort comes best through calm mind
and responsive body. Silence and quietness, self-imposed, prepare the
way to directed effort. Cease everything, even thinking, so far as it
can be stopped, and remain passive thirty seconds. Then another thirty
seconds. Who cannot take one minute out of each hour in the day for
preparing the mind and body for greater strength and activity? When
night has come and we lay the body down to rest there are a few minutes
when it can have the best preparation for the activity of the next day.
The few minutes before sleep carries us into unconsciousness are dear
and sweet minutes, if rightly used. Then can the thought, which has been
sent to thousands of things during the day, be brought back to its
proper place. It should be centred upon one thing. The estimate is that
the mind cannot be kept on one thing more than six seconds; but it can
be returned to that one thing for several periods of six seconds each.
We do not have the chance to return it many times, for sleep seizes us.
Let the thought selected be a pleasant one; of some happy spot or view;
a sunset or refreshing shower. It is better to select something from
nature rather than man, for such thought is likely to be unalloyed. The
last thing at night, if pleasant, tends to give us the calmest rest and
best prepares us for the next day. The well and strong body can be
active and the temperament of the individual makes comparatively little
difference. In this we may all take courage. Every thoughtful person has
had an occasional sad thought over his apparent impotence. No one need
use less than his normal strength and activity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Corrections made by the etext transcriber:

There has, however, ways of procedure been planned which must shorten
the trip.=>There have been planned, however, ways of procedure which
must shorten the trip.

Fortunately, no two persons are exactly alike. If there
were=>Fortunately, no two persons are exactly alike. If they were

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