The school studies try the mind; with the tasks increased bit by bit, the mind is made stronger. Thus is Strength gained. By the tasks demanding exactness, the thoughts must not be scattered everywhere, but centered upon the thing to be done. Thus is Concentration gained. By making the hand work with care and a definite purpose, Skill is gained. By demanding of the thoughts that they must seek out all the qualities of an object, Attention is gained. By placing things and signs for things before us, we are taught to See. By educating us in sounds, we are taught to Listen. When we have a task that admits of a single correct result, we are taught Exactness.
Now, from all we have learned in these Talks about music it must be clear that all these qualities are just what are needed in music:
I. Strength of thought for Real doing.
II. Concentration for Right doing.
III. Skill for Well doing.
IV. Seeing and listening for the cultivation of Attention.
V. Correctness for the Manner of doing.
We sought for a simple lesson. It is this:
Let us learn all we can that is right and worthy for the strengthening of the mind, for the cultivation of the heart, for the good and joy of others; for these things are the spirit of music.
THE CHILD AT PLAY.
“When the long day is past, the steps turn homeward.”
Once a child played on the sea-shore. The waves sang and the sand shone and the pebbles glistened. There was light everywhere; light from the blue sky, and from the moving water, and from the gleaming pebbles.
The little one, in its happiness, sang with the murmuring sea and played with the stones and the shells that lay about. Joy was everywhere and the child was filled with it.
But the day passed. And the little one grieved in its heart to leave the beautiful place. Delight was there and many rare things that one could play with and enjoy.
The child could not leave them all. Its heart ached to think of them lying there alone by the sea. And it thought:
“I will take the pebbles and the shells with me and I will try to remember the sunlight and the song of the sea.”
So it began to fill its little hands. But it saw that after as many as possible were gathered together there were yet myriads left. And it had to leave them.
Tired and with a sore heart it trudged homeward, its hands filled to overflowing with the pebbles that shone in the sun on the sea-shore. Now, however, they seemed dull. And because of this, the child did not seem to regret it so much if now and then one fell. “There are still some left in my hands,” it thought.
At length it came near to its home; so very tired, the little limbs could scarcely move. And one who loved the child came out smiling to welcome it. The little one went up close and rested its tired head; and opening its little hand, soiled with the sea and the sand, said: