Music In The Home
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
MUSIC is not a mere accomplishment, like dancing. It is a general educative force, like painting or drawing, and probably has more influence in character-building than either. While it appeals to the ear with the pleasures of sound, it teaches lessons of refinement, truth, and beauty. The wise mother will ask how she can teach her child to love music. She will do this not because she wishes to make an artist of him but because she wisely considers music a part of the child's general education. In this brief article we cannot even make suggestions regarding the best methods of securing a musical education. We can only make a plea for music in the home and especially for vocal music.
Little children should be taught the words and music of the best nursery songs, the sweetest lullabys, and some of the folk-songs of all nations. Plenty of such simple music in early years is a good foundation for broad musical culture. The little ones should learn the words of these songs as well as the melodies.
In every home where there is a piano or where there is none, there should be a singing hour every week and, if possible, a few minutes of song each day. In these simple home concerts there should be a great variety of music. Hymns should be sung as well as ballads and home songs. The jolly and humorous songs should not be omitted, and the singing should be done with vigor and vivacity. Parents should use their influence for more music and better music in the public schools.
In Volume XII of the Library will be found sensible and helpful articles on singing and piano-playing, as well as the words and music of the best songs-the songs that never die. This collection, carefully made and edited, includes every variety of vocal music from nursery jingles to patriotic songs, from college songs to great religious melodies.
Parents should not forget the moral and religious influence of hymn-singing in the home. Hymns contain truth, theology, and the finest expression of religious feeling and emotion. The words of great hymns should be memorized, as well as the tunes. Children will never forget the emotions aroused by a grand old hymn sung in the family circle at twilight Sunday evening, or just before bedtime. The writer was raised on a farm. In that lonely country home there was no musical instrument, but both parents could sing and both were familiar with the best hymns. Every Sunday evening and almost every other evening, in that family circle, "Old Hundred" was sung; or "A Charge to Keep I Have"; or, "How Tedious and Tasteless the Hour." The writer does not claim to be what is called a religious man, but he believes he is a better man because of the undying influence of this home-singing of the best hymns.
Fault has been found by Walter Damrosch with the American mother in general for not inculcating love of music in growing boys, and seemingly confining all such attention to the girls. Damrosch points out that not till mothers realize this error will America have an opportunity of producing great music and composers of highest rank.
In the Library there is much interesting reading for the music-lover, particularly the biographies in Volume IX of Mozart, Beethoven, and Jenny Lind. Stories illustrating the power of music are "The Maiden Who Loved a Fish," in Volume I, and "Orpheus" and "The Argonauts" in Volume II. In Volume XI are the poems "The Pied Piper of Hamelin," "The Power of Music," and "The Lost Chord." We believe that Volume XII contains one of the best possible collections of home-songs with piano accompaniment.