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pupil is rapidly led over the whole ground taken in his primary course, now and henceforward by reference to the musical characters,-rote-teaching and rote-singing being for the most part abandoned. The child is now expected to begin to read the notation of simple musical phrases at sight.
In the sixth or lowest class is commenced an intellectual study of the sounds of the scale. Children are taught to recognize any sound of the scale by its scale name; as 1, 2, 3, 1, 4, 2, 5, 6, 4, 7, 8, etc., and to produce the same at the dictation of the teacher. This to still further educate the ear. One or two minutes are spent in this exercise, which is followed by a representation of the sounds in written notes upon the staff, which trains the eye together with the ear.
The ear soon becomes so well trained, that children will go to the blackboard and write the scale, or pitch-name, of any sound given with the syllable la. This drill of single sounds is followed by triad practice, after which the class is divided, and the pupil is trained in two-part harmony.
This, if followed by the practice of two-part songs upon the charts, together with the beating of the time, and, in addition to this, in the fifth and fourth classes, by the chromatic scale and a study of the keys which grow out of it.
It is safe to say that at the end of the school year the fourth class will have such practical knowledge of all the nine different keys, that they will sing correctly any choral, which may be written in any of those keys, at sight.
The pupils become familiar with the position of each scale upon the staff, the same as in the key of C. This brings us through the two lower classes and completes the second series of charts, which covers the major scale in nine different keys.
In the fourth class is commenced the study of such intervals as are necessary to a thorough understanding and analysis of the triads on the different degrees of the scale, such as the major and minor second, major and minor third, perfect and diminished fifth, etc; also the most usual form of the chord of the seventh is taught. After the class is familiar with the major and minor thirds, there follows an explanation of the Roman numerals used to indicate major and minor on different degrees of the scale.
This, followed by an explanation and analysis of fifths, develops an intelligent idea of the triads as found on the different degrees of the scale.
These triads are first studied separately, and the pupils are shown some of the exercises in one and two parts, that grow out of each triad.
The triad on the fifth degree is introduced in the same way, followed by exercises in one and two parts, composed of both triads. The instruction proceeds in this way, until all the triads have been introduced in the exercises; this is continued, with two-part singing, through the fourth class.
In the third class this ground is reviewed, adding the other triad, which gives the three parts.
Then follows the name for the harmony which
grows out of the major triad on the first degree, viz: “ Tonic Harmony.”
In studying the harmonic relation of sounds, the pupils are gradually becoming familiar with the groundwork of three-part singing, as based upon the triads, and in acquiring a practical knowledge of the inversion of triads.
At the end of this year, the pupils can readily sing in plain three-part harmonies, and should understand all the signs and characters used in musical composition, and be able to comprehend and read at eight any of the music found in our ordinary collections of psalmody.
I might, if the time and your patience would permit, carry these descriptions and illustrations on through the upper classes of the grammar, and the department of high school instruction; but this, as I have said, is as far as I think it expedient to proceed with them for the present; since it covers the most important part of the ground to be occupied in the general introduction of a system of musical teaching in the common schools of the land.
An essential element in the plan of such teaching, as we have seen, is this, that it be given mainly by the regular school-teachers, with the aid and general direction only of a professional teacher. We have seen that a single professional teacher can superintend the instruction of a large number of pupils,just how many will depend upon circumstances. The number may be more or less according to the density of the population, and to the general ability
of the corps of regular teachers employed. In a city like Boston, where we may perhaps say without boasting, that the standard of qualification is high; from one bụndred and sixty to two hundred and forty schools or classes, representing eight thousand to twelve thousand pupils, can'thus be taught by a single professional teacher. In the cities of Salem and Lowell, and some others in the State of Massachusetts, a single intelligent head has been found sufficient. The salaries might vary from one thousand or twelve hundred to three thousand dollars per annum. My belief is that in towns and cities not exceeding a population of forty to sixty thousand inhabitants, or in rural districts where a group of smaller towns and villages of perhaps half this population in the aggregate exists, and which could all be conveniently visited in a circuit of a week or ten days' extent, a single professional teacher only would be required. And in the latter instance, a competent man, who should be a resident of the district, ought to be had for twelve hundred dollars per
I take it for granted that all the regular teachers can do their part in such instruction, if they will. It requires, in the system we have been just considering, no special musical ability or previous training. An aptness to teach only is necessary, and any person, who is fitted in other respects to hold the responsible position as a teacher in a public school, has the ability, I contend, to learn in a very short time, under the direction of a competent professional
head such as we have named, how to teach the elements of music as well as the other studies required in our common schools. Nor is it necessary that the teachers should be able to sing, in order to be succéssful in this branch of study, though of course it is an aid. On this point says Mr: Holt, of the Boston Schools, in his report to the Music Committee, in 1869, “In the short time within which music has been regularly and systematically taught in the classes under my charge, only seven out of the two hundred and fifty-one teachers, who have come under my observation, have proved themselves unable to do their work satisfactorily. Of these seven, three exchange work with other teachers at the time of the music lesson, one employs a teacher from outside to aid her in this part of her work, who is present at the time of my visit to receive my instructions, while in three rooms the work is imperfectly done.
“With regard to the progress made in different classes,” continues Mr. Holt, “it varies in proportion to the faithfulness of the teacher. I find that teachers, who are regarded as superior in other branches, obtain the best results in music. And many of my best teachers are among those who had no idea that they could do anything in music when we commenced.
* I visit each of the two hundred and fifty-one teachers with their classes,' continues Mr. Holt, “ once in every four weeks ; in this way I am able to help every teacher over any difficulty she may encounter, and to shape my instructions to the wants of each class."