( Originally Published 1922 )
Without any doubt, Italy was the cradle of the first Conservatories, very different at first from those of today. The most ancient establishment bearing this name of which I have found any certain trace, is the Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto, which seems to have been founded in Naples, about 1537, by a learned and also a celebrated Flemish musician named Jean Tinctoris ; then, almost immediately, and certainly before the end of the century, also in Naples, at least three others appeared, the Conservatorio dei poveri di Gesù Christo, the Conservatorio di San Onofrio, and the Conservatorio della pieta de Turchini. These establishments had as much the character of refuges, asylums, orphanages and hospitals as of schools strictly speaking; however, in these, music was taught to the children who seemed to show some aptitude, just as they were taught any other trade, with the aim of giving them a means of providing for their living. It was thus that one of these houses, directed by the Jesuit Fathers, supplied the whole region with strolling and begging musicians ; it was called the Conservatorio dei pauperi scoli, the Conservatory of the Poor.
Such was their origin; they were therefore pious and philanthropical foundations.
Since that time, Conservatories have greatly multiplied in Italy and throughout the entire world. Finding myself in possession of some official data regarding many of the most celebrated and important ones, I think it may be of interest for me to inform the reader of their workings, without vouching absolutely for the small details of a secondary order, which, moreover, may be modified from year to year by a simple revision of rules or statutes. Such as it is, although brief and often incomplete, this information will at any rate give the general aspect of the teaching of music in the majority of civilized countries, and may be useful under many circumstances.
Taking, then, Italy for our starting-point, we will first mention the Conservatory of Rome, dependent upon the Academy of St. Cecelia (1566), an establishment of the greatest importance, notwithstanding the relatively restricted number of its pupils, about 200, who receive the advice of 35 professors, all of the first rank. To gain admission, an application must be sent in from September 1 to October 20, the age must be 9 years at the minimum and 11 to 22 years at the maximum, according to the classes, and proofs must be furnished of the capacity for the course that is desired. If at the end of a year, the pupil does not appear to possess the aptitude required, and if it is recognized that he has no chance of success, he is struck off the rolls.
At the Conservatory of St. Cecelia, an establish-ment subsidized by the government, and the most celebrated in Italy, the pupils first pay an admission fee of 15 lire, and afterwards an annual fee of 60 lire. The teaching, which is very complete, comprises the following branches :
Composition, counterpoint, harmony, solfeggio and theory ; singing, ensemble choral ; piano, organ, harp, and all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, and percussion instruments ; history of music, aesthetics of music, rights and duties. (According to the annual schedule, the following additional courses may be undertaken : Declamation and gesture, history and geography, musical paleography, dramatic and poetic literature, arithmetic, Latin, French, Italian, and other living languages.)
At the Royal Conservatory of Naples (1537), also supported by the State, and possessing additional revenues, there are several categories : day-scholars who pay $12 per annum, from which the needy are exempt; boarders who have to pay $86 entrance fee and $80 per annum ; and there are other boarders, called gratuitous, who pay only the entrance fee.
One can be admitted from the age of 9, except for the singing-classes, in which the age of 16 is the least required for women, and 17 for men ; a good physical constitution and a certificate of study are required ; moreover, an elementary proof of aptitude for the chosen class must be furnished. There are every year about 300 pupils distributed among 36 professors.
Composition, counterpoint, and harmony, military instrumentation, solfeggio and theory ; singing ; scenic art ; piano, organ,* harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, and trombone ; ensemble for piano and instruments, for quartet, and for wind-instruments ; history of Beethoven : violin, viola, violoncello, double-bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, and trumpet, which are necessarily taught everywhere.
The Royal Conservatory of Milan , (1807), called " Verdi Conservatory," receives about 250 scholars and distributes them among the various classes and various grades, according to ability, by means of examinations that take place every October, and for these one has to put one's name down in advance, producing certificates of good conduct, good constitution and literary studies ; one also has to prove a knowledge of the Italian language. New pupils are not accepted until there are vacancies. Candidates for examination in composition pay 170 lire; in all the other branches the price is 150 lire. This establishment has 46 professors and is supported by the State.
Composition, counterpoint and fugue, harmony, military instrumentation, theory, singing ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, cornet.
That of Florence (1860) (Regio Istituto musicale), which, in addition to its subsidy, possesses a rich endowment, counts 26 professors and more than 200 pupils.
Composition, counterpoint and fugue, reading of scores, accompaniment of figured bass, solfeggio and theory ; singing ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone ; aesthetics.
At the Royal Conservatory of Palermo (1615) supported by the town and State, there are 28 professors and an average of 150 scholars, who are not received until the age of 10 or 12 ; an application has to be addressed before September 15. There is an entrance fee of 50 lire for each; then the annual payment is 400 lire for some, and 200 for others ; there are also some free places.
Composition, military instrumentation ; singing, choral ensemble ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra ; trombone.
There is also a little Royal Conservatoire in Parma, which takes pupils from 9 to 24 years, according to course, and collects a very modest annual fee : 15 lire, or even as low as 8.50 for poor pupils. Besides these, there are boarders who pay 600 lire, and wear a uniform. The applications for admission are received up to October 1. There are 12 professors and a hundred pupils.
Composition, counterpoint, harmony, solfeggio, theory, dictation ; singing ; piano, organ, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone ; history of music.
I believe that there are no other Government schools in Italy. These that follow are solely dependent upon the Municipalities.
The Istituto Musicale of Turin (1865) is divided into three schools: preparatory, principal and complementary. Pupils are admitted from the age of 8 to 20, always according to the classes, if the re-quest is addressed before October 6. The provisional admission is 5 lire; that of definite admission is 10 lire, to which 10 lire must still be added for the enrollment fee. The price of the courses varies from 10 to 100 lires, and the examination fee for a degree costs 20 lires.
The number of pupils is determined each year by the Director, according to the schedule.
Composition, counterpoint and fugue (obligatory in the classes of composition and organ), harmony (obligatory for the organ class), solfeggio spoken, solfeggio sung, theory, rhythmical and melodic dictation (obligatory for all) ; singing, choral singing ; piano (obligatory for all the instrumental classes), organ (obligatory for all the composition classes), harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, string-quartet, ensemble (obligatory for all) ; history, geography, Italian.
The Liceo musicale of Bologna (1864) numbers 26 professors for about 200 pupils.
Composition, counterpoint, harmony ; singing ; piano, organ, harp and all orchestral instruments.
At Genoa (1829) the Civico Istituto di musica, where 200 pupils, paying an annual fee of from 10 to 50 lire, according to the course, receive lessons from 17 professors, being admitted at the age of 9, if they prove their qualifications.
Harmony, solfeggio, elementary theory ; singing, choral singing ; piano, all the instruments of the classic orchestra,. trombone, piccolo. (Courses planned for organ and harp.)
There are still a number of other schools, having an official or semi-official character, notably in Ferrara, Lucca, Perugia, Padua, which are not without interest.
At the Liceo Civico Benedetto Marcello of Venice (1877), which receives no aid, they collect : 5 lires to pass the examination for admission; then a fee of 20 lire for final matriculation. The price of the courses, according to their importance, varies from 20 to 100 lire a year. The pupils are received from the age of 8 (solfeggio) up to 22 (singing, men). There are 19 professors and about 146 pupils.
The Liceo confers two kinds of diplomas ; the normal diploma, which is a certificate of study ; and the higher diploma, which may even be given to candidates who are not pupils of the Liceo, who for this purpose undergo a special examination.
Composition, counterpoint and fugue, harmony, solfeggio and theory ; singing ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, bombardon.
The Conservatory of Pesaro (1883), one of the most recent in Italy, was founded by a legacy of Rossini, whence comes its name of Liceo Musicale Rossini; it is placed under the communal administration. According to the testator's wish, composition and the art of singing are specially taught there.
The minimum age is 9 years ; the maximum from 12 to 18 for instrumentalists, and 20 to 21 for singers ; the rules require a certain degree of primary instruction, talent and, a good constitution. They specify that neither the blind * nor deaf-mutes t shall be admitted. The teaching is gratuitous ; however, a fee of 120 lire is collected for the examinations of the complementary subjects, literature, etc., etc. There are 23 professors and about 110 pupils, a few of whom receive scholarships.
Diplomas are given for composition, licence of instruments or singing, military music and teaching.
Composition, counterpoint, harmony ; singing ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone.
This will suffice to give us a view of the official teaching in Italy. As may be seen, these various schools, although having points of contact and re-semblance, differ as greatly in their programmes of study as in their importance, tariff, and conditions of admission.
GERMANY possesses large and remarkable Schools of Music, scattered far and wide. We can cite here only a small number, but these will be sufficient to show that they present, independently of their individual worth, a homogeneity that does not exist among the Italian schools.
First of all, there is in Berlin, largely subsidized by the State, the Royal Academy of Musical Art (1822), which is, in some measure, a normal school, for it has no elementary classes, and the pupils, who have to be at least 16, are not admitted until after an examination in which they have to make proof of a certain degree of instruction. They are taught by 45 eminent professors, and number approximately 280, paying a contribution of from 30 to 300 marks, according to the classes.
The Royal Academy of Fine-Arts is divided into several sections : the Royal Institute of Church Mu-sic, which gives gratuitous instruction to 20 pupils ; the Institute for pupils in Compositior ; and the Institute for the practice of music, of which this is a summary of the programme :
Composition, scoring, theory ; singing, physiology of the voice, hygiene for singers ; declamation, dramatic art ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, ensemble music, military music ; acous tics, history of music, Italian.
The Leipzig Conservatory (1843), has for a long time stood at the head of all establishments of this kind in Germany, and justly retains its renown, for it has produced, in every branch, most remarkable artists. It is not subsidized, but it possesses a guarantee from the State and from the city of Leipzig. The number of professors is 41; that of the pupils may be estimated at 900; they are received after examination and pay a fee of 360 marks if they wish to follow all the courses, 10 marks more for the expense of enrolment, and 1 mark for a card of identity.
Composition, form, instrumentation, counterpoint and fugue, harmony, scoring ; singing, chorus, declamation, dramatic and scenic art, opera ; piano, organ, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, cor anglais, trombone, quartet and orchestra, ensemble ; history of music, æsthetics, metre ; Italian (the piano is obligatory for all pupils in singing).
At Dresden, the Royal Conservatory (1856), holds examinations for admission twice a year, April 1st and September 1st. Natives and strangers have to pay first 50 marks for the right of registry, then from 200 to 500 marks according to the classes, plus the expenses of examination. However, several scholarships, complete or partial, are reserved for Germans and citizens of Dresden. There have been as many as 1,286 pupils ; the number of professors attached to this establishment, which receives at once subsidies from the King, the State and the City and from a Society of patronage, is also respectable,—about 125. Certificates and diplomas of honour are given after the examination at the end of the year.
Composition, form (historical development of forms of composition), counterpoint, fugue, harmony, scoring, con-ducting of orchestra, accompaniment, study of teaching (theory, piano, singing), theory ; singing, chorus, opera, operalcomique and other kinds, declamation, oratory, ensemble and mise en scène for the opera and theatre ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, tuba, ensemble, chamber-music, orchestra, orchestra and chorus ; history of music, literature ; French, Italian.
Important also is the Conservatory of Cologne (1850), subsidized at the same time by the State, Town, and Province, with 40 professors and more than 500 pupils, who are received after examination and must be at least 13 years old; for the singing classes the women have to be 16 and the men 18. There is an entrance fee of 20 marks and the cost of the classes is from 60 to 450 marks a year ; moreover, there are some rehearsals and supplementary classes.
Composition, instrumentation, counterpoint, harmony. scoring, sight-reading, theory, solfeggio, dictation ; singing vocal ensemble, choral ensemble ; declamation, scenic art, opera ensemble, acting ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, string quartet, ensemble of wind-instruments, instrumental ensemble, orchestra ; history of music, liturgy, pedagogy, literature ; Italian.
The Royal Conservatory of Stuttgart (1856), presents a peculiarity that we have not met with else-where : it is divided into a School to produce artists, which is the Conservatory proper, and another school of music for amateurs ; and the artists have to pay more for their education than the amateurs, for whom it is probably thought a more summary education is sufficient. For artists, the price of the classes is 60 marks and 80 marks for the higher classes of singing. (Four scholarships are reserved for indigent pupils.) For amateurs, the price is only from 4 to 50 marks. If one wants to attend all the classes together, it is 360 marks.
There are about 40 professors and 500 pupils, but I am ignorant of the proportion of artists and amateurs.
This establishment, which receives feeble help from the King, State and the Town, to which is added a little capital provided by Queen Olga of Wurtemberg, has particularly formed excellent pianists.
Form, instrumentation, counterpoint, harmony, reading of scores, theory, musical dictation ; singing, choral ensemble ; declamation, scenic art ; piano, organ, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, ensemble of strings, ensemble of strings and piano, orchestra; history of music, aesthetics of the piano, æsthetics and literature, Italian.
The young Conservatory of Hanover (1897), which is supported only by the municipality of that city, has adopted a similar plan; the price for artists is from 45 to 200 marks, while for amateurs it is reduced to from 6 to 60 marks. There are already 550 pupils for 32 professors.
Syntax (harmony and counterpoint), scoring ; singing, choral ensemble ; drama, lyrical drama ; piano, organ, harmonium, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, instrumental ensemble, orchestra ; history of music; Italian.
Another important school is the Conservatory of Munich (1867), its real name being the Royal Academy of Music, with 300 pupils and 36 professors.
Composition, counterpoint (obligatory for the organ pupils), scoring and conducting, harmony (obligatory), theory ; singing, chorus (obligatory) ; dictation, theatrical art, opera ; dance, fencing ; piano (obligatory), organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, cornet, trombone, kettledrums, chamber-music, quartet, orchestra ; history of music (obligatory), liturgy ; Italian.
Moreover, schools of music exist in most of the large cities, such as Frankfort (1860), Carlsruhe (1884), Weimar (1872), Hamburg.
The Swiss government seems to be completely uninterested in the fate of schools of music, which have to be self-supporting. The State, however, in 1856, gave the land on which is built the handsome edifice of the Conservatory in Geneva, which was established in 1835, thanks to the generosity of some rich philanthropists of Geneva who were great lovers of music. Each branch is divided into three grades, and, more-over, there is a finishing class, called normal class, the pupils of which are compelled to take lessons in composition, fugue, transposition, history of music and pedagogy. The price varies from 20 to 200 francs a year.
This Conservatory, which employs 52 professors and 20 substitutes, gives instruction to 1,250 pupils, who receive after annual examinations rewards consisting of silver and bronze medals and accessits. A so-called honour-prize can be accorded to the pupil, who, during a succession of years distinguishes him-self exceptionally. Here is the condensed programme:
Composition, improvisation, instrumentation, harmony, accompaniment, solfeggio, theory ; vocalization and art of singing, reading at sight (singing) ; lyrical diction, declalmation; piano, organ, harmonium, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, reading at sight (instrumental), quartet, orchestra ; history of music, history of form and musical styles.
Although of far less importance and not to be compared to it, we must note the existence of the Academy of Music (1886), also in Geneva, a private establishment, the pupils of which vary in number between 100 and 200, with a variable number of professors, and sometimes virtuosi who are passing through and who are seized in their flight for a series of lessons, which has its interest; at the present moment, it seems to have about 16 stationary ones on duty. The tariff of the courses varies from 50 to 300 francs a year. Reports of study and diplomas are given at the end of the studies.
Composition, instrumentation, counterpoint, harmony, solfeggio; singing, vocal ensemble, diction, orthophonie; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, guitar (!), reading at sight, ensemble of violins, instrumental ensemble ; history ; Italian
At the " School of Music," in Berne (1815), which has only 11 professors for 300 pupils, the programme is infinitely more restricted than one would expect in a city of its importance, and in a country where musical instinct is far from being deficient.
This establishment, which is quite old, lives, however, by means of its own resources.
The pupils pay from 10 to 140 Frs. according to the classes (10 for chorus classes and 140 for advanced piano).
Harmony, singing, chorus ; piano, organ, violin, violon-cello (the programme provides for courses in quartets, ensemble and wind-instruments when the state of the funds permits).
There are other schools, especially in Bâle, Zurich and Lausanne, but I am not sufficiently informed about them.
In AUSTRIA, the Conservatory of the Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna (1817), receives grants from the Emperor, the State, the Provinces of the North-East, the Commune, and the Court Theatre. Pupils are admitted from 10 to 24 years of age ac-cording to the classes ; they have to be well constituted and know how to speak German. The payment varies, according to the importance of the class, from 40 to 400 kronen. There are 61 professors for 950 pupils.
Composition, counterpoint, harmony ; singing, dramatic art, dramaturgy general, diction, opera ; acting, dancing, fencing and gymnastics ; clavier, piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone ; history of music ; French, Italian.
Hungary possesses at Budapest the Royal and National Academy of Music (1874), where children are received from 8 to 12 years, and singing pupils from 18 for the men and 15 for the women. There is an examination for admission, in which evidence must be given of a little knowledge of the specialty to which the pupil is destined ; however, for the harp, the Cembalo * and the wind-instruments, no previous knowledge is exacted, and the course begins with the most elementary grades.
One has to pay, first, 10 crowns for the right of enrolment, which is renewed every year ; then 50 or 60 crowns up to 200, according to the rank of the class. However, the teaching is gratuitous for the viola and wind-instruments ; there are also scholar-ships for the pupils who appear to be gifted, unfortunate and whose parents are interesting. At each period of study a pupil may be turned out if he does, not progress.
There are 38 professors, two auxiliaries for the scenic studies, and about 350 pupils.
The Academy of Music receives many grants from the State and City, and others from individuals, foundations, etc.
Composition, theory; singing, chorus and solfeggio; declamation, dramatic singing, opera ; dancing, fencing, scenic exercises ; piano, organ, harp, cembalo, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, chamber-music, ensemble of wind-instruments, orchestra, course of teaching the piano ; history of music, liturgy, pedagogy, æsthetics, poetics, methods; history of Hungarian litera ture ; Italian.
The Conservatories of Roumania are entirely under the charge of the State. In that of Bucharest (1865), one can be received between 10 and 18 years, after proving some literary knowledge as well as qualifications for the classes desired. The price of these classes ranges from 20 to 100 francs for the Roumanians and from 40 to 200 for strangers, but many dispensations are granted. The number of pupils is 380, who receive lessons from 25 professors.
Composition, counterpoint, harmony, theory ; singing, solfeggio, choral ensemble; declamation and lyrical drama, piano, organ, harp, instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone.
At the Conservatory of Jassy (1860), the conditions of admission and the fees are identical, on ac-count of the limited number of professors, who are only 12 for 350 pupils ; admission is granted by means of a competition, which takes place September 1.
When their resources permit, the best pupils of these two establishments generally go to Vienna or Paris to finish their studies and perfect themselves.
Harmony, theory and solfeggio; singing; declamation; piano, instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone.
There is only one Conservatory in Greece, that of Athens (1871), which receives pupils from the whole Orient. It is not subsidized by the State, which, nevertheless, takes an interest in it and directs it ; it owes its existence to two very rich Philhellenes and to certain Greek colonies in other countries that have given large sums of money to the Hellenic Government for this purpose. They have 20 professors, each of whom has an assistant ; the number of pupils is now more than 300, of whom 50 receive gratuitous instruction ; for the others, the expenses amount to from $9 to $36 a year, and there are in addition certain fees for admission and $6 for a diploma.
At the examinations for admission, which take place in September, the pupil has to give proof of certain musical knowledge ; the limit of age is from 9 to 19 for men and 9 to 17 for women. The distribution of rewards is very intelligently arranged : at the examinations at the end of the year the pupils whose studies are considered as complete receive diplomas, the number of which is not limited, and which constitute a kind of baccalaureate-in-music ; but beyond that there is a special competition for three gold medals, and still another competition to obtain the scholarships for the academic year; and then, as a means of encouragement, 1st and 2d prizes and 1st and 2d accessits are bestowed.
Composition and counterpoint, harmony, reading of scores, orchestration, solfeggio and theory; singing, ensemble vocal music ; declamation ; dancing, fencing, gymnastics ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, tuba, ensemble instrumental music, orchestra ; history of music, history of the theatre aesthetics, mythology, psychology, the art of costume, rhythm and metre, literature ; French and Italian (obligatory for pupils for the stage).
The principal Conservatory of RUSSIA is that of St. Petersburg (1862), which receives from the State (Minister of the Interior) a fairly good subsidy, be-sides which numerous scholarships (more than 200 in 1898-9) are liberally distributed by the Emperor, the Empress, grand dignitaries of the State, by the Department of the Navy, the Department of War, by other establishments and by the Conservatory itself, which reduces the number of pay pupils to a small enough fraction of the whole. For those, the annual due is 200 roubles.
The total number of pupils is about 800, who receive instruction from 89 professors or substitutes. Here is the way in which this very complete instruction is divided and taught by the celebrated masters of the Russian school:
Composition, instrumentation, conducting of an orchestra, harmony and counterpoint, theory, solfeggio; singing, church singing, chorus ; declamation, opera, preparation for the stage, scenic ensemble, dancing ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, cornet, trombone, tuba, instruments of percussion, quartets, many classes of ensemble instruments, string and wind, with or without piano, orchestra ; religion, history of music and aesthetics, history and geography, mathematics, physics, calligraphy, general literature ; Russian, German, Italian.
In the second place comes that of Moscow (1864), elegantly installed since 1898 in a beautiful edifice that unites all the qualities of a comfortable school, sheltering a body of 60 professors and 600 pupils aged from 10 to 30 years, who pay 200 roubles a year. There are a certain number of scholarships destined for poor scholars and exclusive talents.
This establishment is subsidized by the State. After having terminated the complete course of his specialty and that of the accessory subjects and the scientific course, the pupil obtains a diploma or a certificate.
Composition, form, orchestration, fugue, counterpoint, harmony (obligatory), theory (obligatory), solfeggio (oblilgatory); singing, piano, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra ; musical encyclopædia (obligatory), history of music (obligatory), scientific classes (the programme of which corresponds to that of the five classes of the Russian gymnasium), history of art and literature.
The oldest of all is that of Warsaw (1821), which bears the title of " Institut Musical " and comprises 37 professors for 500 pupils approximately. Here pupils are received from the age of 12 to 20 years ; an exception is made for those of remarkable talents.
The expenses of study are from 50 to 100 roubles a year. A modest sum is granted by the Treasury.
There are three kinds of examinations : the examination of admission ; examinations at the end of the year ; and examinations at the end of study. The programme is of somewhat small compass:
Composition ; solo singing ; piano, organ, stringed instruments ; flute, clarinet, bassoon, cornet, horn, trombone.
The Institute of music in Helsingfors (Finland) is divided into a preparatory school and an advanced school, where admission is by means of examinations ; in the first one pays 125 francs a year; in the second 200 or 250.
The pupils of the preparatory school have to fol-low at the same time the course of the Lycée, or to pursue their education in some other manner.
To a somewhat large grant from the Russian Government, is added some aid from the Musical Society of Helsingfors. This establishment, the programme of which announces elevated tendencies, includes only 15 professors and about 150 pupils.
Composition and instrumentation, counterpoint and fugue, harmony (given theme), harmony (in general bass) (obligatory), theory general and analytical (obligatory), solfeggio and dictation (obligatory) ; singing, vocal ensemble and chorus ; dictation ; stage deportment ; piano, organ, violin, viola, violoncello, brass instruments, chamber instruments ; history of music (obligatory) ; theory and practice of musical teaching.
If we pass into BOHEMIA, we find a very fine Conservatory in Prague (1808) ; good faith forces me to say that my information is of the date 1858! But this is none the less interesting, for it shows how very far advanced the studies were at this period ; the pro-gramme might have been made yesterday, and I have good reasons to believe that it has not deteriorated, but that it has kept in the line of progress.
Now in that far-away period, they had already at the said Conservatory of Prague 19 professors and 138 pupils, who paid an entrance fee of from 4 to 20 florins according to the classes, and were subject to various other fees in addition to money fines, a proof of severe discipline. They were admitted between 10 and 13 years, by proving a good constitution, musical aptitude (a correct ear), and some primary instruction. After 6 years of study, they are admitted to a final examination.
They had even then grants and resources of divers natures, which have suffered modifications, but what is really remarkable is the programme of study, which was already very complete, and which has even improved since then. They taught there:
Composition, theory ; singing, choruses ; lyric declamation, theatrical declamation ; dancing and theatrical de.. portment ; piano, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, cornet à pistons ; history of music, instrumental and theatrical literature, history, prosody, mythology, æsthetics, style, Catholic religion, geography, arithmetic, calligraphy ; French, German, Italian,
There are at least three Conservatories in HoLLAND, but to my great regret I lack data regarding one of them, that of The Hague (1826).
The most important is that of Amsterdam (1862), dependent upon the great " Society for the Development and Protection of Music," which receives funds from the Province, the City and individuals; they do not reckon, however, more than 80 pupils for 26 professors ; but it must be observed that by the side of the Conservatory there is a School of Music that includes more than 700 pupils, and serves as a kind of nursery for it. At the Conservatory itself none but pupils about 17 years of age are admitted, who study as artists and who are already sufficiently developed to enable one to judge of their talent and of their future.
The fees of registration amount to 200 florins; for singing lessons, 250; preparatory course, 150; solfeggio, 40. . . . Some partial or even total reductions are granted on the request of the director. At the end of three years, a certificate of detailed studies may be obtained.
Composition, counterpoint, harmony, solfeggio, theory ; singing, solfeggio and chorus ; declamation, diction, deportment ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra ; history of music ; French, German, Italian.
The Conservatory of Rotterdam (1845), which modestly enough calls itself School of Music, is placed under the protection of the same big society. Its statutes are riot, however, similar : there pupils can be received at the age of 8 years, and, at the end of the year, diplomas for performers and teachers are distributed. There are 21 professors and 672 pupils :
Composition, counterpoint, harmony, solfeggio ; singing, chorus ; piano, organ, stringed instruments, wind instruments, chamber-music, orchestra ; history of music.
I believe that DENMARK possesses only one Conservatory,—that of Copenhagen (1867), which does not seem very important. It receives some paying scholars, whose expenses may amount to from 22 to 264 kronen, but it admits gratuitously those who are unfortunate and well endowed. The number of professors is 18 and there are about 72 pupils. The school is supported by a testamentary legacy, according to the terms of which the pupils cannot number more than 50; a grant of the State allows it to extend this number.
Analysis and form, instrumentation, counterpoint, harmony, musical theory ; singing, chorus ; piano, organ, violin, violoncello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, ensemble music and orchestra ; history of music ; German, Italian.
In SWEDEN, at the Royal Conservatory of Stock-holm (1881?) pupils are received from the age of 12 to 20 years ; however, this limit can be extended up to 25 years for candidates for the classes in composition, organ and singing. The courses are paying, and the admission fee is 7 florins ; there are some scholarships for indigent pupils. The funds are provided by the State, which largely subsidizes it. The Royal Theatre adds a small sum for the support of the classes in opera and lyric art. The average num ber of scholars is about 170, with 27 professors. There are public competitive examinations and diplomas for organists, maîtres de chapelles, leaders of military fanfares, professors, etc., etc.
Composition, counterpoint, form, instrumentation, military instrumentation, scoring, harmony, musical divine service, accompaniment, solfeggio and church singing; singing, chorus, vocal ensemble ; declamation, opera, scenic art, study of rôles ; deportment, plastic arts, gymnastics, ballet piano, organ, harp, stringed and wind instruments, ensemble, orchestra ; history of music, acoustics, Italian ; organ and piano tuning.
NORWAY, a very musical country, has the Conservatory of Christiania (1865), which has 28 professors and 450 pupils. The price runs from 5 to 25 kronen a year, according to the course; certain gratuitous places are reserved for poor and well endowed pupils. One can be admitted between 12 and 20 years, by means of examinations that take place in January and September. The rewards consist of books of music.
The State as well as a special society furnishes a subsidy ; the King gives some scholarships.
Composition, instrumentation, counterpoint, harmony, practical modulation, musical theory ; singing, chorus ; declamation, deportment ; piano, organ, harmonium, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, ensemble; tuning of the piano and organ.
England seems to possess in London, and in the Guildhall School of Music (1880), the most colossal school of music in the world, at least with regard to space and the number of pupils, which is not less than 3,100. I believe I saw somewhere that in 1896 there were 4,000; in comparison, the number of professors is restricted enough, only 147.
Into this establishment, subsidized by the City, the pupils are admitted without any age limit, on the sole condition of paying a fee that varies, according to the classes and periods of study, from one to six guineas a quarter, then five shillings more for an entrance fee, and five shillings deposit. Each pupil, no matter who he is, must pay two shillings and five pence each term. Medals of gold, silver and bronze, and diplomas are distributed.
Composition, form, analysis, orchestration, counterpoint, canon, fugue, harmony, scores, harmonization at first sight on the piano, figured bass at first sight on the piano, accompaniment for church service, conducting of orchestras and chorus, improvization, solfeggio, theory, dictation ; singing, choruses, choral ensemble ; declamation; gestures, deportment, choregraphy, fencing ; piano, organ, harmonium, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone and euphonium, tuba, cornet, kettledrums, guitar, mandolin, chamber-music of strings and of wind, vocal, orchestra, military music ; acoustics, history of music ; French, German, Italian.
There are many other schools in London ; I will mention only two more: the Royal Academy of Music (1822), where one is received for examination in September, November, January, February, April and June. For this examination one guinea is first collected ; then the price of the course varies from one guinea to eleven pounds one shilling. The maintenance is assured by a private society and certificates of study are bestowed. There are 131 professors and about 500 pupils.
Composition, harmony and counterpoint, theory, solfeggio and dictation ; singing, chorus, choral ensemble ; diction and declamation, drama, opera ; deportment, fencing and physical exercises, dancing, choregraphy ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, ensemble instrumental music, instrumental and vocal, orchestra, military music ; French, Italian, English, German.
The Royal College of Music (1876), is supported by a fund and diverse gifts. Admission is by examination and without limit of age. Each pupil pays twelve guineas quarterly ; the entrance fee is 2 guineas, and one has to deposit 5 guineas for the 1st and the 3d examinations and 21 guineas for the 2d. A certain number of prizes, some of which owe their origin to special funds, are given at the end of the yearly examinations. There are 69 professors and 450 pupils.
Composition, orchestration, harmony, counterpoint, analysis, accompaniment, scores, solfeggio, transposition, dictation and theory ; singing, chorus ; theatrical art, declamation, opera, diction ; deportment and choregraphy ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, kettledrum, and drum orchestra, military music, chamber-music strings and wind, vocal ; history of music ; French, Italian, German.
None of these English schools seem to have produced, unless by exception, great artists that have made a sensation ; generally speaking, their pupils who have futures finish their studies on the continent, —in Germany, Belgium or France.
Before leaving England, I will mention the Royal College of Music in Manchester, whose programme offers a few interesting peculiarities. There are 33 professors; I do not know the number of pupils. One has to pay 30 pounds a year and 3 guineas more for the orchestra.
Composition, harmony (obligatory) ; singing, chorus ; diction ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, cor-anglais, trombone, double bassoon, ensemble, quartet, orchestra; history of music ; Italian.
The piano is obligatory for singers, for all the instrumentalists, for organists, and for pupils in the composition classes ; moreover, the pupils in composition are obliged to learn a stringed instrument ; Italian and diction are obligatory for the pupils of singing ; the ensemble is obligatory for all the instrumentalists, and also the orchestra.
The most important school in SPAIN is the Conservatory of Madrid (1830), subsidized by the State, where 55 professors give instruction to nearly 1,600 pupils. To be admitted, it is necessary to have a little primary instruction, to know at least how to read and write, and to have a correct ear. To enter the classes in solfeggio one must be over 9 years ; to enter the classes for singing and declamation the women must be at least 15 and the men 16. They pay a fee of 15 pesetas for the right of enrolment and 5 pesetas for the examinations, which can be dispensed with in the case of indigence. Certificates are given at the end of study, 1st, 2d and 3d prizes, and diplomas of master-composer, for which 150 pesetas have to be paid to the State.
Counterpoint, fugue and composition, harmony, solfeggio and theory ; singing, vocal ensemble ; lyrical declamation, declamation ; piano, organ, harmonium, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, cornet it pistons, trombone and ophicleide, chamber-music ; history and philosophy of music, grammar and literature ; French, Italian.
Another considerable establishment is the Conservatory of Barcelona, dependent on the Lycée of Her Majesty Isabella II., where each pupil pays a small monthly fee, which they try to make as small as possible and which may even be entirely suppressed when there are vacancies, and in favour of interesting pupils who are poor. This school, which is supported by the shareholders of the Grand Theatre, the Municipality and the Province, numbers 42 professors and more than 1,000 pupils, who receive medals and crowns of gold, silver, and bronze ; there is also a competitive examination for a professor's diploma.
Composition, harmony, transposition, theory, solfeggio, dictation ; singing, declamation ; piano, organ and harmonium, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, cor-anglais, trombone, bass-clarinet, bugle and bass tuba, guitar, string-quartet ; acoustics and history of music ; French, German, English, Italian.
Less important is the School of Music in Saragossa, whose number of scholars rarely exceeds 250 or 300, with 14 professors and 5 or 6 assistants. The examination fee is from 5 to 10 pesetas and the price of the course varies between 20 and 80 pesetas. One must be 8 years of age for the general classes, and 15 for those of singing. The town furnishes a slight support. They bestow diplomas, and 1st and 2d prizes.
Foreign pupils can present themselves at this school to pass examinations called " free instruction," by submitting to the official programme, by means of a fee of from 12 to 32 pesetas; these examinations give no rights to the rewards of the school.
Composition, harmony, solfeggio ; singing ; piano, organ, harmonium, violin ; French, Italian.
The most recent of the Spanish Conservatories is that of Valencia (1879), slightly aided by the municipality and the provincial deputation ; the sum for matriculation is 30 pesetas for solfeggio, and 35 pesetas for all the other classes. There is, moreover, an examination fee of 2.50 pesetas: the candidates have to know how to read and write. There are at present not more than 8 titulary professors, and two assistants, and 260 pupils ; the prizes and accessits consist of diplomas. The teaching there is still quite limited.
Composition, harmony, solfeggio ; singing, piano, organ, harmonium, harp, instruments played with the bow, flute, clarinet.
If we pass into PORTUGAL, we shall find at Lisbon, the Royal Conservatory, which is very important, of whose foundation date I am ignorant, but it is surely anterior to 1835, and whose expenses, which arc very considerable, are entirely paid by the State. It em-ploys 32 professors, and the number of pupils, relatively small, is about 300; they have to pay only a fee of registry, which is from 2.50 francs to 6 francs, according to the classes or courses. The lowest age for admission of both sexes, for foreigners as well as for the Portuguese, is 9 years ; however, none can be admitted into the classes of singing or declamation before 14 years for the women and 15 or 16 for the men. The courses are held from October to June, and the year ends with competitive examinations, when diplomas of honour, prizes and accessits are given. The programme of study is remarkably complete :
Composition, counterpoint and fugue, harmony, piano accompaniment, scores, transposition, theory and solfeggio ; singing ; theatrical song, choruses ; theatrical art, lyrical declamation, tragedy, drama, comedy and farce, diction and declamation, recitation, study of rôles, mimicry, art of costume, theatrical gymnastics, fencing ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, saxophone, cornet, chamber-music, orchestra ; history of music and musical literature, universal and national history, history of the ancient and modern theatre, poetics, psychology, general grammar, esthetics, reading, geography, general and Portuguese literature ; Italian (obligatory for pupils in singing and composition).
In BELGIUM, there is first of all the Conservatory of Brussels (1813), very serious and important, to which one is admitted by an examination that takes place in September, if a primary instruction and a satisfactory conformation are proved; the natives pay a small annual sum of 5 francs, which for foreigners is raised to 200 francs. The number of professors, tutors or monitors is about 70; that of the pupils, 600. At the examination prizes, mentions and accessits are distributed.
Counterpoint and fugue, harmony, plain-chant, solfeggio and theory ; singing, vocal ensemble, choral ensemble ; declamation, deportment and mimicry ; clavier, piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, saxophone, chamber-music for strings and wind, orchestra.
At the Royal Conservatory of Liège (1827), the conditions of admission and the prices of instruction are the same as at Brussels. There are 35 professors for 500 pupils. The admission day is in October.
Composition, fugue, harmony, solfeggio; singing ; piano, organ, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, cornet à pistons, trombone, tuba, chamber-music.
It is about the same at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent (1833), which employs 47 professors and instructs 550 pupils aged seven years at the lowest. There also they exact primary instruction, and the pupils have to follow it up and bring proof with certificates. The price for the class in solfeggio is 2 fr. 50 quarterly, and for the pupils of instruments, 5 francs. A certain number of free places are reserved for privates in the army, pupils in the classes of Netherlandish singing, children of destitute pa-rents, etc. At Ghent and Liège the examinations give prizes, accessits, and medals of silver and enamel.
Composition, plain-chant, practical and written harmony, reading and transposition on the piano ; Netherland singing, French and Italian, vocal ensemble ; scenic art, French declamation, Netherland declamation ; deportment, mimicry, calisthenics ; piano, organ, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, cor-anglais, saxophone, trombone, tuba, cornet and bugle, chamber-music, string-quartet, ensemble.
At Antwerp (1867) the Royal Flemish Conservatory unites the respectable number of 1,200 pupils under the direction of only 43 professors. The maxi-mum payment is 5 francs for the natives and 50 francs for foreigners.
Counterpoint and fugue, harmony, solfeggio; singing, vocal ensemble ; Netherland declamation, lyrical declamation ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, chamber-music, orchestra ; ancient music, Flemish literature.
The Belgian Conservatories, large and fine schools that have furnished an ample harvest of celebrated or remarkable artists, all receive the triple subsidy of State, Province and Town.
Finally, in France, we have the Conservatory of Paris (1795), subsidized by the State, or, to speak more correctly, belonging to the State, whose universal renown is such that we can dispense with all commentary, where one cannot gain admission save by a series of eliminating examinations which take place every year in the month of October, and for which it is necessary to furnish proofs of a certain knowledge suitable to the age. The age for admission in theoretical or instrumental classes extends from 9 to 22 years. For singing, men can be received from 18 to 26 years, and women from 17 to 23.
There 800 pupils, in round numbers, receive gratuitously the care of a body of 81 professors or tutors ; and at the end of a scholastic year, examinations, some of' which are public and others private, are held, and the successful ones receive prizes, accessits or medals, by way of encouragement.
Composition, counterpoint and fugue, harmony, accompaniment, improvization (at the organ), solfeggio ; j singing, ensemble vocal ; dramatic declamation, lyric declamation, opera, opéra-comique ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, cornet à pistons ; chamber-music, orchestra ensemble ; history of music, history and dramatic literature ; deportment and dancing ; fencing ; stage laws.
The Conservatory of Paris has branches in the Departments, at the present time there are 26: at Lille (1826), Toulouse (1826), Dijon (1845), Lyons (1874), Nancy (1884), Nantes (1884), Perpignan (1884), Rennes (1884), then more important ones, under the title of Ecoles Nationales, Aix (1884), Bayonne (1884), Boulogne-sur-Mer (1884), Caen (1884), Chambéry (1884), Digne (1884), Douai (1884), Le Mans (1884), Nisme (1884), Roubaix (1884), St. Omer (1884), Valenciennes (1884), Cette (1885), Tours (1885), Angoulême (1887), Montpellier (1889), Amiens (1891), Moulins (1893), the number of professors varying from 4 (Digne) to 32 (Lille and Toulouse). These receive subsidies from the State and the Municipality at the same time.
Of course, owing to the varying resources of the different localities, these branch-schools do not all have the same value. There are, however, a few of them, particularly among the oldest, which have sent out some very good pupils, who often come to Paris to finish their education. In a volume published in 1872, Ernest Reyer, the composer of Sigurd, Salammbô and La Statue, remarked that in the Departments there are " some music-schools that are considered as branches of the Paris Conservatory, but which, in reality, are merely communal schools sup-ported by the town, and which are placed under the authority, sometimes a little too arbitrary, of a municipal council. . . ." And he added : " We might wish that our provincial music-schools, being attached to the Ministry of the Beaux-Arts by serious bonds, could acquire the right to call themselves, otherwise than by the vain formula, branches of the Paris Conservatory." * It has always been very much the same : the connection of these schools with the Ministry of the Beaux-Arts began in 1826, with Lille and Toulouse, and there were already four official branches at the time when the above lines were written ; the number was gradually increased until 1893, when the branch of Moulins was created, which is still the youngest. Their directors are nominated by a ministerial order, their professors by the Préfet, they are subjected to periodical inspection, but they are not dependent, as is often believed, upon the Paris Conservatory; they are under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry. Their programmes are reductions of that of Paris; from that of one of the oldest and that of the one most recently created, we can gather a sufficient idea :
Harmony, solfeggio ; singing, vocal ensemble ; lyric declamation, diction ; piano, organ, harp, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, trombone, cornet, saxophone, chamber-music, orchestra.
Solfeggio : piano, all the instruments of the classic orchestra, saxophone.
In all these French schools, as in the case of the Paris Conservatory, entrance is gained by examinations in October, and the instruction is entirely free, that is to say, there is nothing whatever to pay, either for the right of entrance, nor for examinations, nor diplomas, nor for anything at all—and this holds good for foreigners as well as for natives,—a fact peculiar to France.
And we must regard this complete gratuity, which, as a consequence of its admirable philanthropic side, excludes all idea of exploitation, and allows the pupils to be sorted out, and only those to be admitted who show qualities or very certain predispositions, as well as the power of dismissing them when they do not fulfil their promises, I say, we must regard this as one of the elements of superiority, but not the only one, of the Conservatory of Paris, which, without pretending to realize the ideal of perfection, is certainly the model normal school, and justly attracts students from all parts of the world.
From this little circular trip that we have just made through the Conservatories belonging to the majority of the countries of Europe, and from the notes that we have been able to make upon a certain number of them on the way, the sagacious reader can deduct many instructive things, simply by taking the pains to look for them and making comparisons for himself.
The number of classes and their nomenclature is not the principal thing to take into consideration. We see very plainly, in each of the schools that we have just passed under review that stand at the head of musical instruction in their country or district, as well as in all other analogous establishments, to whatsoever nation they may belong, there always exists a certain foundation programme of study that is the same everywhere, forming the very basis of the teaching, its indispensable part, and which, moreover, could hardly vary. Thus in all of them, even the least important, it is necessary to learn to sing, and to play the piano, as well as all the instruments constituting the symphonic orchestra ; it is also demanded that solfeggio and theory shall be taught, under whatever head, and some elements of harmony, without which there would no longer be any schools of music. This is not the real interest.
What is instructive to study, is the balance and the weighing of the divers studies, agreeing always with the national tendencies and local aspirations, revealing these when they do not sanction them; it is their correlation with or divergence from the importance of the establishment that is manifested in the number of professors who teach in them and of the pupils who follow the course, and the relation between these figures and those of the population shows the degree of musical civilization of every country. There are also many other things that can be divined, and that would take a long time and be profitless to enumerate in detail. There is certainly a distinction to be drawn between those schools that limit themselves strictly to instructing their pupils in matters of pure musical technique, and those that, surveying the education of an artist from a higher standpoint, introduce into their programmes courses of History of Music, Literature, General Aesthetics, Prosody or Metrics, Acoustics, or foreign languages (the knowledge of one or two foreign languages, in-dependently of their utility to singers and their convenience to every artist who is called upon to travel, is one of the most powerful elements of literary and aesthetic instruction). In others, there will be noticed a greater concern for exercises that develop physical strength or gracefulness, such as Dancing, Choregraphy, Fencing, even Gymnastics and Calisthenics (a group of exercises that are excellent for the physical culture of young girls). This shows that special care is taken to form artists for the stage; these can ill afford to neglect the subject of deportment and the plastic arts. A knowledge of History, Mythology and Psychology are indispensable to the composer and also to the actor, and if they do not acquire these at their Conservatory, they will be obliged to learn them elsewhere, and at their own expense. So, nothing of all this is immaterial: far from it: Paleography itself (the study of ancient writings), of which we have found but one chair, in Rome, allows the initiated to read at sight old forms of musical notation now fallen into disuse, and may lead to archeological discoveries. What is most to be regretted is that these extra-musical courses, which, as we have already shown, are so helpful in developing the artistic sense by a general elevation of the mind, are not more widely extended, made obligatory everywhere and practised continually. In many schools, we are forced to admit that even if they do figure on the programme, they are only there after an intermittent fashion; indeed they are some-times suppressed, on account of pecuniary reasons, and often for consecutive years, to the great detriment of serious students. The intention is manifested, nevertheless, and this we must take into ac-count.
We may be allowed, on the other hand, to regard as superfluous or puerile, certain courses in the piccolo, kettledrums, and harmonium, etc. . . . instruments which really do not require any special teaching and do not raise the level of the school in the slightest degree; and, from another point of view, those of Geography, Arithmetic and Calligraphy, as going, perhaps, a little too far astray from the principal aim ; but before condemning or turning them into ridicule, we ought to know exactly the social conditions of every country and the mean degree of intellectual culture of the candidates. Then, doubtless, in most cases, there would be a reason and normal explanation for everything. But what ought to be required everywhere, as we have seen it clearly formulated in Leipzig, Manchester, Lisbon and other places, being elsewhere implied and as a mat-ter of course, is that every student of singing should be compelled to study the piano, and to become, ipso facto, a musician. Many other things, often unexpected, can be learned by turning over these notes, which I should have liked to make complete if I had felt sure that everybody would be interested and had not feared that to many they would be tedious.
It is very evident that there are strong contrasts to be established between all these various establishments created for instruction in music and for popularizing it with the masses, as we shall now see. But there is one point that is common to all and which should attract the attention of all those who are seeking practical advice of various kinds in this book : it is that within their sphere of action they attract the highest class of teaching and the safest and most famous professors in their district. This is their duty to the inhabitants and to their own interest as academic establishments. Moreover, on account of the number of pupils that pass through their hands, the numerous opportunities they have in examinations and other exercises to control their course and study their temperament, the professors of a Conservatory are in a far better position than any others to increase their experience and to verify the correctness of their methods. We may then admit, à priori, and in the absence of verification, that among them we shall have the best chances, with-out going beyond the radius of any given locality, of finding the safest and most trustworthy guides; whether we attend their classes in the Conservatory, or prefer to consult them privately on account of any personal or social considerations, with which we have nothing to do here. Their official position marks them for confidences. But this must not, by any means, be taken as an absolute rule; for very often, especially for the special study of any particular branch, we find masters of altogether superior ex. cellence in the fields of free teaching.
But when the question is one of a number of studies that we want to carry as far as possible, a very good combination, the surest and at the same time, the most agreeable, to my mind, consists in following the Conservatory courses, taking them as a general line of conduct, yet without depriving our-selves of the aid of a private teacher who acts as tutor, and is willing to play this secondary rôle and conscientiously limit himself to it. In all Conserva-tories of the first rank, there is no professor who would object to this combination; indeed many of them would be the first to advise it, on the judicious condition that the tutor should be known and agree-able to them. Sometimes, but rarely, the regulations are jealous and finical enough to oppose this, stipulating that the pupil, on penalty of expulsion, shall take no lessons outside the school. One must know how to get around such rules ; it is always to be man-aged somehow.
Generally 'speaking, the classes of purely musical instruction are held two or three times a week and last two hours ; that is about the length of time that is universally adopted ; moreover, the hours are arranged so that every pupil can participate simultaneously and without fatigue in the different classes that may be useful to him.
The auxiliary courses, those whose aim is the moral and intellectual instruction of the artist, such as History of Music, the Stage, 'Esthetics, Literature, etc., are often in the form of lectures, and take place at longer intervals, every week or fortnight, or even once a month; frequently listeners are admitted who do not belong to the school. If they are good, such attendance cannot be too highly recommended to amateurs interested in matters of art. This is the same custom as is followed in many Universities, notably in Germany and England and also at the College of France and the Sorbonne in Paris.
Very frequently such questions as these are asked : Are all these Conservatories useful?—Is not the liberty of art restricted by the exigences of official teaching?—Does not the artist lose something of his spontaneity by being thus put into a regiment, as it were, and subjected to a kind of musical drill?
I will try to answer these collectively.
First, I will remark that the same fears might be expressed regarding all the Government Schools where are taught the Fine Arts—painting, sculpture and architecture—the usefulness of which seems to me to be demonstrated by the mere fact of their expansion in every country of the globe, without exception, and I ask why music alone should be subject to other laws. If the Conservatories did not supply a real need, we should not have seen them multiply as they have ; we should not see new ones springing up every day ; if their results were negative, we should see them die ; or, at least, some would disappear. Now, we have never heard of a single one that has closed its doors : they are born, they grow, sometimes they amalgamate with other similar schools that were established first as rivals, and that always end by uniting with them ; but not one has been accused of decline, nor is in jeopardy of perishing. Such is their history up to date.
Are they then established simply to make the fortune of the directors and teachers? If this were the case, they would fail in their purpose; for everywhere, except in England where they are remunerated royally, if they accept and seek these posts, it is far more for the honour and love of the art than from pecuniary calculation, for such positions very frequently bring with them impediments to an individual career, and the salaries can only be regarded as indemnities. Do the Governments, Municipalities or protecting societies gain any large profits by them? No, for they subsidize them or support scholarships and never touch anything in return.
To what then shall we attribute their growth and their vitality, if not to the artistic results, hoped for at first, and finally realized and established?
It must be thoroughly understood that the teaching in the large Conservatories, I mean by this those that have reached their complete development, is far from possessing that rigidity publicly attributed to them by some people who never go to see them and who have formed this idea of themselves. Apart from certain principles, as unchangeable as the laws of logic or geometry, each maintains its own freedom of judgment, at least in the classes of composition and those that border it ; and if the instrumental classes, which, however, produce virtuosi each having his own and very distinct personality, may sometimes be treated as " musician factories " and " schools of drill," that is only a semi-evil. The musician of the orchestra may be perfectly well compared to a soldier, without any loss or harm done to the dignity of his modest career; and, like him, be subjected to a rigorous discipline. Interrogate orchestral musicians upon this subject, and you will find that the best and the most sought after among them, those upon whom the conductor feels that he can rely, are products of the Conservatories.
But there is still another and most important thing to be considered with regard to the greater number of the large Conservatories of which we have just spoken. This is the sincere spirit of good comrade-ship and cordial fraternity that reigns in them and makes them essentially sympathetic. Setting aside a few bitter and petty rivalries which only arise in certain classes that are purely feminine and do them no honour, it gives us great pleasure on the contrary to see established among the promoted schoolfellows and comrades a kind of tacit Masonic bond of true metal, analogous to that which exists between the pupils of the other Fine Arts schools, such as the Normaliens and the Polytechniciens, which prompts them to seek and help each other in after life, like the good and loyal brothers-in-arms they are.
The great objection made by the detractors of official education is the following, which seems to them to be of great weight: " The great masters of the past whom we venerate formed themselves without the aid of any Conservatory." This is their principal battle horse, their unanswerable argument.
However, this is how we may reply to them : " It must indeed be acknowledged that our great masters did not come out of the Conservatories, but this does not prove that they are useless, nor that they have done nothing for the progress of musical art. The principal duty of a music-school is to increase the number of trained musicians. The diffusion of musical art, which is always increasing, renders the foundation of Conservatories and Music-Schools necessary. When we think of what a veritable army (choirs, orchestras, soloists, conductors, music-teachers, etc.) that the art of music demands for its present needs, we realize that private teaching would be altogether insufficient to provide for it. Moreover, the Conservatories and music-schools offer in-contestable advantages. Therefore the musical atmosphere of the Conservatories alone is helpful to youth, just like the stimulus that is found in all collective teaching." * As we have already shown this, it is needless to return to the subject.
It is very certain that Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Weber did not issue from German Conservatories, but this is explained when it is remembered that there were none in their time, since the oldest of all, that of Leipzig, was created in 1843. This did not prevent Mendelssohn from being a brilliant professor there, nor Rossini and Rubinstein from founding two others, by different means, one in Pesaro, the other in St. Petersburg ; thereby showing plainly that they did not despise the principle, and that they, perhaps, would have been glad to have had done for them in their youth, what, in their old age, they considered good to do for others. I think these are authorities ; and many others might be cited.
Still again, it might be well to examine somewhat closely and see whether by chance a few artists of lofty flight have not come out of these so greatly villified Conservatories ; but people never think of that. Their adversaries, when maintaining that the majority of great geniuses have been despised in their lifetime, and that they have had to carve their way through a thousand hardships and acquire their instruction with incessant struggle against winds and waves, might just as well and just as sagely pro-claim that the best and most fertile of all schools is that of adversity. This will always be open, alas ! and their protégés can always be admitted free with-out examinations or age limits.
The two advantages that are to be sought in making application to a Conservatory are : economy and safe guidance. The first is always to be found ; the second, nearly always ; that is to say, with the exception of establishments of an inferior order, easily recognized. With regard to the superiority of the instruction in any given branch, that depends upon too many local and personal circumstances for us to be able to form any advance judgment, and may just as well be found, as we have already said, in independent teaching.