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(c.) Capabilities in rudiment teaching.
(d.) Directing church-music and organ-playing;
(The latter (d.) because the school-master in the smaller towns and villages fills also the place of organist.)
"In Prussia,” says Mr. Eichberg, "according to Baron Alexander von Sybel, the insufficiency of the funds allotted to Musical Instruction by the State and Municipal Budgets prevents the engagement of experienced music teachers in the Public Schools, and, with the exception of the principal cities, such as Berlin, Königsberg and Cologne, and Frankfort and Cassel in the newly annexed territories, musical instruction was rather a matter of routine than an object of live interest in the schools. On questioning Mr. Erk about this statement, the latter assured me that a great deal of improvement had taken place lately and that legislative action was shortly expected which would regulate and systematize the whole matter of popular musical instruction."*
Mr. Eichberg attributes this present meagreness in the appropriation of funds by the State to the drain upon its Treasury caused by the recent war and "the perhaps not groundless fear of another to come."
"During my stay in Berlin," continues Mr. Eichberg, "I acquainted myself with a large number of works on school-music and procured, among others, a copy of Dr. E. Fischer's book on Singing and Vocal Instruction' (now almost out of print), whose author was one
* In an appendix to his Report Mr. Eichberg has given a list of the numerous musical works of Professor Erk, who from the beginning of his Berlin career, in 1835, till now, has devoted the whole of his leisure time to the improvement of music in the Public Schools.
of the pioneers of musical instruction in the Schools of Prussia. This remarkable essay is replete with useful hints to teachers and those having charge of schools. Among its many truisms I might be permitted to quote the following:
"The main hindrance to successful music instruction in schools lies in the indifference with which the subject is viewed by the School Directors and the rest of the teachers. It is not enough to set apart the required time for the lessons and not to hinder them otherwise, but the Director (master) of the School ought to manifest his interest by frequently assisting at the lessons and to make use of music on all fit occasions. This is the more indispensable as pupils are not (unfortunately) submitted to regular examinations in music as in the other branches. The indifference of the masters is promptly perceived by the pupils and they necessarily form their own conclusions as to the unimportance of this study.
"Many more portions of Dr. Fischer's book could be quoted, all showing the necessity of placing music on a par with the other departments in the Public Schools.
"The first regular musical instruction in German Schools was given in the Berlin Gymnasium, in the year 1811, previous to which time such instruction was only and imperfectly given to such of the pupils as were employed in the musical performances of the church. The highest degree to which musical instruction is brought in the Prussian schools consists in enabling the pupils to sing correctly such works as Bernhard Klein's four-part motets and choruses by Homilius, Handel, and other classical composers. Berlin the most advanced pupils of the schools and gymnasium meet occasionally for the practice of some more extended work, and on certain occasions (such as distribution of prizes), whole parts of oratorios have been performed by the scholars, to general acceptance, the bass and tenor parts being sung by the pupils of the high schools and gymnasium. The best pupils of the High School (Real-Schule) are, as a reward, allowed to sing in Professor Erk's
Singing Society. I have to add that Mr. Erk thinks that a class of from forty to fifty pupils is as large as can be successfully instructed together.
"The Director of the Leipzig Conservatory of Music, Mr. Conrad Schleinitz, referred me to Prof. R. Müller, teacher of music at the Thomas School, as most qualified to explain to me the method of public music teaching in the Leipzig schools. These schools are divided into eight grades or classes, the three lowest of which, (corresponding, as I take it, to our Primary Schools) sing exclusively by rote, and go through such rythmical and melodic exercises as are best calculated to lay a sound foundation for the theoretical instruction, which begins in the fourth class (corresponding with the lower classes of our Grammar Schools). The Primary classes receive their musical instruction from their regular teachers. From the fourth to the eighth class, inclusive, the lessons are given by music teachers especially engaged by the city for that purpose. Prof. Müller is one of these teachers and makes use, for his classes, of a small text-book compiled by himself, and which did not strike me as having any particular merit, either in plan or execution. Two lessons, of one hour each, are given per week to each class. Mr. Müller, who appears to be a very experienced and intelligent teacher, uses in his female classes only two-part exercises, as, in his judgment, it is injurious to the alto voices to circumscribe themselves within the small compass generally allotted to the lowest of three-part songs. I informed him that we avoided such injurious effects (in our High and Normal department, at least) by making the altos occasionally take the second soprano, and vice
"Two weekly lessons, of one hour each, are devoted to music throughout the Kingdom of Saxony, but I failed to learn that music received any particular attention on the part of the Saxon school authorities. From information I received here and in Dresden, I am rather led to believe that music in the schools is rather tolerated than considered an object worthy of the greatest interest. All that is demanded of school choirs is the correct rendering of short motets and secular compositions, - reading at sight being neither demanded nor expected.
Among the works in use in the Leipzig schools (and in Saxony generally) are the following:
"C. H. Voigt, People's Songs; Ludwig Erk, One Hundred School Songs; Heinrich Bellerman, Rudiments of Music; August Todt, Song Book for Public Schools, Book II; in addition to Mr. Müller's book, above mentioned. Most of these works contain novel and interesting matter and ideas, while the selection of songs is uniformly of a sound musical character, and much of it quite available for our three musical divisions.
"While in Leipzig my attention was directed by several teachers to the highly interesting work by E. Richter, teacher and Royal music director in the Seminary at Steinau, on the Oder, bearing the title,
'Directions for the Instruction in Singing in the Public Schools.'
"In the short space of one hundred and eighteen pages the author gives an exhaustive exposé of his views on the subject. The work is divided into two parts.
1st. Preparatory Instruction for Primary Schools.
2d. Instruction in the Volks-schule,' (corresponding to our Grammar Schools.
"In this, as in most recently published books of its class, attention is drawn to the importance of the study of sacred music in schools. The protestant chorals of Germany have been considered in all times, and by the most illustrious composers, as the main basis of sound popular musical instruction. No music is more capable of improving the taste of the masses and acquainting them with the canons of the beautiful in music. These eloquent musical utterances of times long gone by will, sooner or later, have to form a principal object of study in our schools, To this day they are comparatively unknown in America. While I am in favor of the study of good secular works, yet do I venture to assert that not only will a systematic study of chorals be of benefit to the present pupils, but its excellent effect upon musical taste will be felt a long time after this present generation shall have faded away.*
* The following chorals, mostly dating from the first two centuries after
"In the future school music books, these and other chorals by the old composers ought, of necessity, to take the place now too often filled by modern psalm and hymn tunes of little or no musical value, often badly harmonized, and consequently gravely injurious to the taste of the pupils.
"In an interview with Robert Franz, in Halle, (Saxony) this great composer spoke most eloquently of the importance of strictly controlling the musical selections and keeping it constantly before the eye, that the musical development of this whole country depends on the first impressions the pupils receive in our schools,— that he only was to be intrusted with the teaching whose artistical convictions were of the right stamp. He also spoke of the necessity of an early cultivation of the ear and rythmical feeling. My accounts of music in Boston were listened to with the utmost sympathy. The almost total deafness of Robert Franz cannot fail to awaken a feeling of sorrow among his many admirers in Boston.
Dresden, the capital of Saxony, has always wielded a large musical influence throughout Germany. As early as under the reign of Elector August the Strong, the opera and orchestra in
the Reformation, are indicated for use in schools by an order of the Prussian Minister of Instruction, dated October, 1, 2, 3, 1854 :