“Take, for example, the girl in the small town, who is trying to do something with her voice. She believes if she can get to New York, or some other music center, and have six months’ lessons with some well known teacher, she will emerge a singer. She comes and finds living expenses so great that only one lesson a week with the professor is possible. There is no chance for language or diction study, or piano lessons; yet all these she ought to have. And one vocal lesson a week is entirely inadequate. The old way of having daily lessons was far more successful. The present way vocal teachers give lessons is not conducive to the best development. The pupils come in a hurry, one after another, to get their fifteen or twenty minutes of instruction. Yet one cannot blame the teacher for he must live.
“The ideal way is to have several lessons a week, and not to take them in such haste. If the pupil arrives, and finds, on first essay, that her voice is not in the best of trim, how much better to be able to wait a bit, and try again; it might then be all right. But, as I said, under modern conditions, this course seems not to be possible, for the teacher must live. If only vocal lessons could be free, at least to the talented ones! It seems sad that a gifted girl must pay to learn to sing, when it is a very part of her, as much as the song of the bird. Ah, if I had plenty of money, I would see that many of them should have this privilege, without always looking at the money end of it.
“It seems to me the young singer should not practice more than two periods of fifteen or twenty minutes each. At most one should not use the voice more than an hour a day. We hear of people practicing hours and hours daily, but that is probably in books. The voice cannot be treated as the pianist or violinist does his fingers. One must handle the voice with much more care.
“The chances for the American singer to make a career in concert and recital are abundant. In no other country in the world do such opportunities exist. If she can meet the requirements, she can win both fame and fortune on the concert stage.
“In opera, on the other hand, opportunities are few and the outlook anything but hopeful. Every young singer casts longing eyes at the Metropolitan, or Chicago Opera, as the goal of all ambition. But that is the most hopeless notion of all. No matter how beautiful the voice, it is drill, routine, experience one needs. Without these, plus musical reputation, how is one to succeed in one of the two opera houses of the land? And even if one is accepted ‘for small parts,’ what hope is there of rising, when some of the greatest artists of the world hold the leading roles? What the