Nr. 21

Ratio of students to a trained music teacher:

  • South Dakota 151 to 1
  • New York 390 to 1
  • Alabama 819 to 1
  • Utah 1,141 to 1
  • California 1,535 to 1 
  • Only 15% of California music classes are taught by a qualified music teacher.
 National Commission on Music Education, 1991

Nr. 22

The onslaught [of computers] has left our emotional lives thin and empty, or, at best, constipated.  Our spirits lag behind the superficial miracle of our inventions, and the appetite for expressiveness upon which the arts depend is lacking. Why do we proceed with such blind faith in what our computers do for us?

Wallace Chappell, University of Iowa, 1991

Nr. 23

For every one pupil who needs to be guarded from a weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened from the slumber of cold vulgarity.  The task of the modern music educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.

C. S. Lewis, “The Abolition of Man,” 1967

Nr. 24

I’ve always felt the urge to discover what can most help beginners and how they can be made thoroughly acquainted with the technical, intellectual and ethical of our art. How to teach them that there is a morality of art and why one must never cease to foster it and always combat to the utmost any attempt to violate it.

Arnold Schoenberg, quoted in Howard Swan, “Conscience of a Profession”

Nr. 25

One of the biggest needs of the school is not to teach people to do things, but to help them to understand what they are doing. Nothing is easier than to create a society of people in motion. Nothing is more difficult than to keep them from going nowhere … The big trick is to get them to think about creating better options for themselves and the next generation. The making of things, useful though they may be, is not as essential as the making of choices.

Norman Cousins, “Saturday Review,” 1978

Nr. 26

Education in the formal sense is only a part of society’s larger task of abetting the individual’s intellectual, emotional and moral growth. What we must search for is a conception of perpetual self-discovery, perpetual reshaping to realize one’s best self, to be the person one could be. It includes not only the intellect but the emotions, character and personality.  It involves adaptability, creativeness and vitality. And it involves moral and spiritual growth.

John Gardiner, “Excellence,” 1961

Nr. 27

Music does not truly exist except in performance. But we must guard against praising performance apart from the music.

David Whitwell

Among our musical friends was Julius Herford. He attended a rehearsal and after we had sung it through, I turned to him. “It seems to me,” he said kindly, “that if we all did a little less singing and a little more listening, we’d have more Bach.”

Joseph Musselman, “Dear People,” 1978

This reminds one of Bernstein’s song, “I hate music, but I love to sing!”

Occasionally, one comes upon a choir, the members of which  have lost all feeling for music as music and are only interested in the number of marks they may or may not gain in their competition.

Gustav Holst, Lecture at Yale on the Teaching of Art, 1929

Nr. 28

Literature is not the alphabet. Mathematics is more than symbols. Music transcends its notation. Learn to speak these languages.

Foundation for the Advancement of Education in Music, 1991

Nr. 29

The arts must deal with objects and experiences one by one: the painter paints one painting at a time; the musician must play each piece as though he were just creating it. The result is what Toffler calls the Law of Inefficiency in Art … The glory of the arts, which is their individual humanity and uniqueness becomes their fatal flaw. They are fixed in place while the rest of the world advances. The result becomes a system of self-perpetuating poverty … For those who care about them, the arts are their own justification—which is one reason why we defend them so badly and why some people still regard them as unnecessary.

Eric Larrabee, in “Music Education Journal,” Sept. 1973, 34

Nr. 30

For teachers to adopt a blanket policy of accommodation to student wishes and wants is hedonism at its worst. If contemporary pop songs are used as teaching examples they must be scrutinized for inherent musical worth.

Donald W. Roach, in “Music Education Journal,” Sept. 1973, 37