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SPECIAL DIRECTIONS referred to in the First Part of
the MANUAL. Duties of the Singing Master or Superintendent Singing Moni
tor during the Lesson. In many schools a whistle is used to obtain perfect silence and an immediate cessation of every kind of exercise. As it may be often desirable, during a music lesson, to stop a class in the act of singing or solfaing without interrupting the studies of others, a second signal is necessary.
It should therefore be explained to each monitor, and by him in turn to his class, that when the master, superintendent singing monitor, or he himself, strikes two sharp blows in rapid succession against the wall or desk, or any
hard substance near, his class must cease singing instantly. The difference between these signals should be clearly explained to the pupils of each class when they receive their first lesson.
About a quarter of an hour before the commencement of each singing lesson, the superintendent singing monitor (assisted, if necessary, by one or two others) will look out the tablets marked in the" Progress Table," the “ Class-numbers," and the “ Classlists." He will then summon those singing monitors who were on duty at the close of the last lesson (see page x. of Manual), and deliver to each of them the tablet which his class is about to study. Each monitor will then, for about ten minutes, look over his tablet; consulting the superintendent monitor on any points upon which he may be uncertain. During this time one of the assistant monitors will put the “ Class-numbers” and the “ Classlists” in their proper places.
At the moment for commencing the lesson the monitor of order will direct the pupils of each class to march to their proper places : each monitor will then proceed to his own class, take the class-list in hand, and call over the names upon it. If there be any absentees, he will take out the little bands on which their names are written, and bring or send them to the superintendent monitor, who will put them aside till the conclusion of the lesson.
SIMULTANEOUS PRACTICE. The class-lists having been called over, and the absentces reported, the master (or, in his absence, the superintendent monitor) will place himself in the centre of the room (or in any part of it where he can be seen by the whole class), and, having obtained perfect silence by the whistle, will say “ Attention.”
All eyes being turned towards him, he will then name which of the “ general exercises” he wishes practised. These “ general exercises" consist of 1. The numbers of the notes of the scale of Do (1, 2, 3,
4, 5, 6, 7, 8) repeated with the manual signs (see
Tablet 2). 2. The major scale of Do solfaed, with manual signs (see
Tablet 2). 3. The major scale of Do in canon, each note (a semi
breve) having four beats (see Tablet 10). 4. The sounds of the common chord of Do, in unison (see
Tablet 10). 5. The sounds of the common chord of Do in combination
(see Tablet 10). These general exercises require no special directions differing from those in the tablets to which reference is made. The master or superintendent monitor will merely indicate to which classes the parts are to be assigned in solfaing the scale in canon, and the notes of the common chord in combination.
Care should be taken to include only such classes as have in their ordinary course arrived at the tablets in which the exercises named are first practised.*
. These may be known by a glance at the Progress Table.
Each monitor will be directed to watch the pupils of his own class.
The master or superintendent monitor should from the first direct that the general exercises be executed with some varieties of " light and shade.” He might give out the second exercise (for example) thus :-“ The major scale of Do solfaed, with manual signs. Begin very softly, and increase gradually in loudness as you ascend to the octave; then begin loudly, and decrease in loudness as you descend, ending as softly as possible on the first note.'*
It is a useful exercise to sing the scale from beginning to end very softly. But, in fact, the simplest vocal passage is capable of endless varieties of effect in execution.
Second Period. READING TABLETS.-READING IN TIME.-VOCAL PRACTICE.
This, the most important period of the lesson, requires great care and activity on the part of the master or superintendent monitor; for, independently of simply reading the tablets
, and practising “ reading in time,” solfaing or singing is to proceedeither first by one class and then another, 'as the vocal exercises present themselves for the first time; or simultaneously, when the composition is in many parts to be divided among one class, or sung in combination with other classes.t
It is the chief duty of the superintendent singing monitor to watch that no class commences singing out of its turn; and it is for the master or for him to decide whether a class shall occupy its time in singing from the tablet, or from the fingers. When, as will sometimes happen, two or even more classes are at work on the same tablet, they can practise simultaneously; and it will be at the discretion of the superintendent singing monitor to increase the duration of their time for singing accordingly.
To make several classes near together solfa from the hand, the superintendent singing monitor must stand in such a position that each monitor can see him distinctly. He will then touch such passages as he wishes practised; each monitor imitating him, and the pupils of each class imitating their own monitor. It will be understood that the pupils look only to their own monitor; their backs being turned to the superintendent monitor, whose actions they see represented by their own monitor, as in a glass. One of the most advanced of each class should be appointed to
• When the majority of classes has passed Tablet 11, the usual musical terms, “ Piano,” “ Crescendo,” &c., should be used.
+ To execute compositions in more than two parts, it is necessary to wait till there be classes sufficiently advanced to sing them all: For example, No. 2, Tablet 36, should not be attempted in combination with No. 20, Tablet 40, until another class is prepared with No. 2, Tablet 35.
watch that each pupil touches the notes on his own hand correctly.
During the time that the pupils of a class are practising by themselves from a tablet, the superintendent monitor should suddenly stop their singing occasionally, and demand of any one, “ Where are you singing ?” by way of stimulating individual attention.
When several classes are practising together in harmony, the master himself, or, in his absence, the superintendent singing monitor, must direct them with the score * in his hand. Before commencing, he will say “ Chord of Do,” if the composition be in Do,or Re or Mi, as it may happen ; naming to each monitor the sound his class is to sing ; thus, 1st, 3rd, 5th, &c. When the composition begins with the common chord, he should arrange so that each class sounds the note on which it has to begin. The chord having been sung, he will “ give the time,” make the classes beat a preliminary bar, and then sing or solfa as may be required, stopping them when there may be occasion.
During the second (and, indeed, third) period, it is of the utmost importance to keep down the noise made by the classes not actually singing. The monitors should be frequently enjoined to direct the practice of “reading in time” as quietly as possible; during no other exercise is it necessary that more than one voice in a class should ever be heard at once. The pupils of each class should stand as near together as possible, in order that the monitor may not have to raise his voice much above a whisper to be heard.
When, in spite of these injunctions, the din rises to a very great height, as will sometimes happen, the superintendent monitor must procure perfect and immediate silence by the whistle, and desire that the lesson may proceed more quietly.
Third Period. INDIVIDUAL OR GENERAL EXAMINATION. When the “ Second Period” is ended, the master (or superintendent singing monitor), having obtained silence by the whistle, will say aloud, “ Examine your classes.” Each monitor will then place his back to the wall, re-arrange his class before him, take his tablet in hand, and ask, one after another, the questions at the foot ; sometimes denoting the pupil who is to answer, sometimes desiring all those who can answer to hold up their hands. On no account whatever should more than one pupil be suffered to speak at a time.
* A score is an arrangement of all the parts of a composition one under the other. The edition in 8vo. contains scores of all the exercises in the Tablets.
+ This last method is recommended as both quiet and comprehensive.