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LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, January 12, 1914.
SIR: That music plays an important part in the life of a people and should therefore have an important place in the system of education in any State or nation has been understood by the foremost educators for three thousand years. Among a practical, industrial, and commercial people, like ourselves, good music is necessary not only for enjoyment and recreation, but also for inspiration and for salvation from death in the din and dust of trade; and this music should be democratic in the truest and best sense. This it can never be until it becomes an integral part of the education given in the schoo's of all grades, as it is in the schools of some other countries. It is through an increasingly clear understanding of this fact that music, not recognized in the course of study of our earliest public schools, has, within the last twenty-five or thirty years, been introduced to some extent into the schools of most progressive cities and of many towns, villages, and country communities, though by many it is still considered unessential and a fad. Sooner or later we shall not only recognize the culture value of music, we shall also begin to understand that, after the beginnings of reading, writing, arithmetic, and geometry, music has greater practical value than any other subject taught in the schools.
Finding that no comprehensive report of the extent to which music is taught in the schools of the several States and of the methods used in teaching had ever been made, I requested Mr. Will Earhart, for merly supervisor of music in the schools of Richmond, Ind., now director of music in the schools of Pittsburgh, Pa., to make a thorough investigation of the subject for this bureau. The manuscript herewith transmitted embodies the results of this study, giving, with little comment, a comprehensive account of the present status of music teaching in the public schools of the United States. I recommend that it be published as a bulletin of the Bureau of Education. It is expected that this will be followed by studies of music in the schools of other countries and by a constructive study of the means for making music teaching more effective in the schools of the United States. Respectfully submitted.
To the SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
P. P. CLAXTON,
MUSIC IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
MUSIC IN ALL GRADES BELOW THE HIGH SCHOOL.
In conducting this investigation the following questionnaire was used:
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR GRADES BELOW HIGH SCHOOLS.
1. Is music required?....
2. How many minutes per week are given to it in each grade?..
3. Is the course graded?..........
4. Give titles and authors of textbooks used in each grade.
5. Do you give particular attention to voice building?.. How is this done?...
6. Features of practice, by grades:
Rote singing: Grades...........
Staff notation and sight singing: Grades.
Individual singing: Grades..
Vocal drill: Grades.....
Ear training: Grades..
Sight reading, using syllables: Grades.
Singing words at sight: Grades...
Two-part singing: Grades...
Three-part singing: Grades.
7. Are the pupils "marked" in music?.
If so, are the marks considered in their class standing?.
8. What are the steps in your method of teaching children in primary grades to sing by note?...
9. What percentage of the pupils in the grammar grades can sing an ordinary hymn tune at sight?..
10. For what parts is the music used in the eighth grade written?..
11. How do you manage boys' voices during the time of change of voice?.
14. (a) Does a special teacher of music give all the lessons?...... or (b) do the grade teachers give all of the lessons, without special departmental supervision?.....
or (c) do the grade teachers carry on the work under the direction of a supervisor of music?.....
15. How often does the supervisor visit each room?.
16. Are prospective grade teachers required to pass an examination in music?.. If so, who prepares the questions?....
17. In what branches the special teacher or supervisor of music required to pass
Before presenting tables and analyses of the replies received, some explanatory comment should be made.
It became evident early in the tabulation that there was great diversity of theory and practice in public-school music teaching, and that this diversity made some of the questions propounded hold little significance in some quarters, while they were quite appropriate and were, therefore, categorically answered in others.
Let us take for instance the question of "Features of practice, by grades" (No. 6). A study of the table with relation to the total number of answers given to the first question, "Is music required,” reveals that rote singing is known and its practice quite well systematized in 606 out of the total number of schools (622) that report music as a required branch, the 16 remaining schools being accounted for as dismissed because of inept answers.
The study of staff notation and sight singing is likewise seen to be a standard feature of practice intelligently reported as to the grades in which it is introduced, and so well recognized as essential that many schools reporting music as not required still give testimony that such study is carefully organized by grades in their own work. On the other hand, the inquiries as to vocal drill and dictation brought forth a smaller series of answers. This is partly accounted for by the fact that the largest number of answers tabulated for any one grade is not representative of the number of schools that have such a feature in some grade or other. Thus 462 schools report dictation in fifth grade and 454 report it in fourth grade, but the practice is not at all standardized, and many of the 454 are quite likely to be schools that are not included in the 462, being, rather, schools that for some reason abandon dictation with the fourth year. The entire comparative shortcoming is not accounted for in this way, because a study of the papers themselves reveals that many who report on other items omit all answer to these features and that a few frankly write interrogation marks in the place for the answers.
The conclusion should, therefore, be borne in mind that although 681 papers were examined, and all were read for every question, for hardly a single question does the maximum number of answers tabulated equal the number of papers read; nor is it the same as the number of answers for any other question; that this disparity is at times apparent rather than real, and arises from a different basis in answering; and that, when real, it arises from failure to answer, indefiniteness of answer, or waiving of the answer because of the inapplicability of the question, as when questions concerning eighthgrade music are presented to schools that have no music above the sixth grade. The variety of these singular conditions seems to be