“The purpose of vocalizes is to place and fix the voice accurately and to develop taste, while singing rhythmically and elegantly. The records give some Concone exercises, ably interpreted by one of our best known voices. You hear how even and beautiful are the tones sung, and you note the pauses of four measures between each phrase, to allow the student to repeat the phrase, as before.
“I firmly believe this method of study is bound to revolutionize vocal study and teaching. You see it goes to the very foundation, and trains the student to imitate the best models. It even goes farther back, to the children, teaching them how to speak and sing correctly, always making beautiful tones, without harshness or shouting. Young children can learn to sing tones and phrases from the records. Furthermore, I believe the time is coming when the technic and interpretation of every instrument will be taught in this way.
“It is my intention to follow up this set of foundational records by others which will demonstrate the interpretation of songs and arias as they are sung by our greatest artists. The outlook is almost limitless.
“And now, do you think I have answered your questions about tone production, breath control and the rest? Perhaps I have, as convincingly as an hour’s talk can do.”
No doubt the serious teacher, who may be occupied in any branch of musical activity, has often pictured to himself what an ideal institution of musical art might be like, if all students assembled should study thoroughly their particular instrument, together with all that pertained to it. They should by all means possess talent, intelligence, industry, and be far removed from a superficial attitude toward their chosen field. The studio used for instruction in this imagined institution, should also be ideal, quiet, airy, home-like, artistic.
Some such vision perhaps floats before the minds of some of us teachers, when we are in the mood to dream of ideal conditions under which we would like to see our art work conducted.
It has been possible for Mr. Herbert Witherspoon, the distinguished basso and teacher, to make such a dream-picture come true. For he has established an institution of vocal art—in effect if not in name—where all the subjects connected with singing, are considered and taught in the order of their significance. Not less ideal is the building which contains these studios, for Mr. Witherspoon has fitted up his private home as a true abiding place for the muse.
At the close of a busy day, marked like all the rest with a full complement of lessons, the master teacher was willing to relax a little and speak of the work in which he is so deeply absorbed. He apologized for having run over the time of the last lesson, saying he never could teach by the clock.