Project Gutenberg's Seed Thoughts for Singers, by Frank Herbert Tubbs

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Title: Seed Thoughts for Singers

Author: Frank Herbert Tubbs

Release Date: October 7, 2011 [EBook #37662]

Language: English

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Musical Director, New York Vocal Institute.



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 mission.

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 bacillę. 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 dominate.

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 ones.

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 waste.

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."       sEuripedes.


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 handicapped.

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."       Bach.




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 instruction.


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 think.


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 us.


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 sweetness.


"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."     Christiani.



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 hearers.

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 position.

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."       D'Israeli.

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



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 being."     Emerson.

"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 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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