“The trouble with American girls is they are always in a hurry. They are not content to sit down quietly and study till they have developed themselves into something before they ever think of coming to Europe. They think if they can only come over here and sing for an artist, that fact alone will give them prestige in America. With us American girls are too often looked upon as superficial because they come over here quite unprepared. I say to them: Go home and study; there are plenty of good teachers of voice and piano in your own land. Then, when you can sing, come here if you wish.”
Frieda Hempel speaks from close observation when she says: “Here in America, girls do not realize the amount of labor and sacrifice involved, or they might not be so eager to enter upon a musical career. They are too much taken up with teas, parties, and social functions to have sufficient time to devote to vocal study and to all that goes with it. In order to study all the subjects required, the girl with a voice must be willing to give most of her day to work. This means sacrificing the social side, and being willing to throw herself heart and soul into the business of adequately preparing herself for her career.”
In the words of Caruso’s message to vocal students, they must be willing “to work—to work always—and to sacrifice.” But Geraldine Farrar does not consider this in the light of sacrifice. Her message to the young singer is:
“Stick to your work and study systematically, whole-heartedly. If you do not love your work enough to give it your best thought, to make sacrifices for it, then there is something wrong with you. Better choose some other line of work, to which you can give undivided attention and devotion. For music requires both. As for sacrifices, they really do not exist, if they promote the thing you honestly love most. You must never stop studying, for there is always so much to learn.” “I have developed my voice through arduous toil,” to quote Mme. Galli-Curci. Raisa says: “One cannot expect to succeed in the profession of music without giving one’s best time and thought to the work of vocal training and all the other subjects that go with it. A man in business gives his day, or the most of it, to his office. My time is devoted to my art, and indeed I have not any too much time to study all the necessary sides of it.”
“I am always studying, always striving to improve what I have already learned and trying to acquire the things I find difficult, or have not yet attained to,” testifies Mme. Homer.
Those who have been through the necessary drudgery and struggle and have won out, should be able to give an authoritative answer to this all important question. They know what they started with, what any singer must possess at the beginning, and what she must acquire.