ARgh! I HATE Delius bashing! I love Delius. We need more Delius and less Hans
Christian Lumbye! The first work I ever arranged for wind ensemble was "The
Walk to the Paradise Garden".
About the kids and what they learn in school. I've been substituting as an
elementary music teacher lately. I've been in maybe a dozen different
classrooms. Some classes obviously spend time singing; others don't; none spend
as much time as they need to spend with it. What do the teachers teach them?
The school system where I teach uses the worst possible material. Songs out of
range, ugly pairings of text and tune, all mixed with a liberal sprinkling of
"music appreciation". As a sub I am able to avoid using such destructive
material. I teach the children to sing simple folk songs from which they will
transfer not only a strong sense of pitch and rhythm but also enjoy just the
fun of singing. Unfortunately, I have yet to find an entire class that can
I teach every class from the very beginnings, using Kodaly principals -- simple
folk songs that carry the language and the culture. Third and fourth graders
will eagerly join singing such "plain" tunes as "Row, row, row your boat", "Are
you sleeping/Freres Jacques", and "Scotland's burning". But I have found that
even as high as 6th grade, no class is able to sing any of these in three-part
canon. I can remember learning to sing rounds in early elementary school almost
50 years ago -- when did that stop being done?
Singing as a pleasurable social activity seems to have become a thing of the
Instrumental education seems geared to producing professional symphony and
concert artists. What about music making as a recreational activity? Have we
gone full-circle back to the era of musica reservata?
I invest considerable energy in encouraging amateur chamber music making. That
is the future of classical music to me. Sing in a church choir or amateur
chorus; play in your community orchestra or band; get together with friends and
play some Corelli trio-sonatas; Gabrielli Canzonas transcribed for brass quartet
are great fun to play. Get a set of parts for the Gounod Petite Symphony and
have a ball!
There can never be enough beauty in the world.
Guy Hayden, Music Director
Emmanuel Episcopal Church