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studied, but such study is almost valueless without personal experiment at the keyboard, in order that the teacher may not only know theoretically how a given action should be performed, but can do it himself, and know how he does it.

The would-be teacher must realize that mere text-book knowledge is not enough ; the essential is to be able to apply it practically. It is here that so many candidates show weakness in the oral part of teachers' examinations. In numberless cases an examiner finds that the candidate has half digested a mass of more or less misunderstood facts concerning the teaching of the piano, violin, &c., but has not the vaguest idea of practical teaching. For example, the examiner asks a piano candidate how to obtain singing tone, and receives the usual reply " By arm weight." He then asks to be shown exactly how the candidate would teach this to a young pupil, and the reply will either be a memorized passage from a book on piano technique, totally incomprehensible to the average pupil, or some confused stammering which shows immediately that the candidate really knows nothing about the matter. Very occasionally a candidate can be induced to demonstrate the point at the keyboard, and in most cases such a demonstration will be quite at variance with what he has attempted to explain. Often enough, too, the method of performance exhibited in the pieces, &c., will be entirely different from that which the candidate apparently intends to adopt in teaching. Consistency, and a definite method are needed ; haphazard ideas are worse than useless. As the late Dr. C. W. Pearce remarked in his " Art of the Piano Teacher " " Any method is better than none at all."

There are two absolute essentials in connection with the imparting of knowledge

(a) The ability to bring oneself down to the pupil's mental level-to see things through his eyes ;

(b) The ability to make explanations in perfectly simple, clear, and intelligible language.

The former of these desiderata has already been mentioned. The teacher with his wider knowledge may easily be able to grasp some fact to the significance of which the pupil, with his limited learning, may be blind. It is always well to work on the assumption that the pupil knows nothing except what the teacher himself has taught him. With regard to (b) it must be remarked that explanations have to be adapted to individual pupils ; what will make things perfectly clear to one may remain unintelligible to another. But in any case, explanations must be as simple as possible, and in this direction the average text-book is often of little help. To take a simple example. In explaining the difference between Simple and Compound Times, some books state that the change from an undotted beat to a dotted one involves " a

To be continued

 

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