Music Education and Kinds of Instruction
( Originally Published 1922 )
It now remains for us to consider for the last time Musical Instruction in its entirety, but from a different point of view from all that has gone before.
One of the most serious questions must in fact pre-sent itself to parents who want their children to study music, as it will later to the pupils themselves, when they have reached an age at which they can themselves decide upon the guidance of their studies. It is this : of the two kinds of teaching : individual or in classics, which should be chosen? Or, what is merely the same question put differently, which produces the best result with an equal sum of effort or money expended? Here a distinction must be made.
In principle, we may reply that private teaching is the best for learning an instrument, or learning singing, which comes to the same thing, the voice having to be considered, in all that concerns musical studies, as nothing but a living instrument. The reason is simply that the teacher has not so much time, as is customary devoted to a private lesson, to observe his pupil carefully, to look out for his faults, to try to develop his good qualities, to give him appropriate examples, to make him understand and re-peat these and to be engrossed with him exclusively without any outside foreign preoccupations to disturb him ; also because, to tell the truth, two pupils absolutely alike do not exist, and it can never be proper to treat both exactly in the same way, nor with identical means.