excerpt from 'My Musical Life' pp. 116-7 (345 words)

excerpt from 'My Musical Life' pp. 116-7 (345 words)

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My Musical Life

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Thousands around me were leading dull lives of monotonous toil, with little refreshment or variety, too much shut up to ihe beer-house or the counter, tempted by want and gin, tempted also to all kinds of chicanery and petty theft, and full of sordid aims. I deter- mined to try the effect of music, and good music, upon their narrow, busy, overburdened lives. I invited Mr. C. H. DEACON, SIGNOR REGONDI incomparable on the guitar and concertina and SIGNOR PEZZE to come down and give a concert in the national school-room. The prices of admission were low - 1d. and 3d. The room was crammed; the music was a little over the people's heads; the respectable element predominated a little too much, as I expected, but the class I aimed at was fairly represented. The audience was hushed, attentive, a little awed, but intensely appreciative. I did not play myself. No one had heard me play there, so no one expected me to play then; and I might have lost my character as general manager and president had I contributed to the programme in a musical capacity. I confess the old war-horse within me began to chafe and paw the ground, impatient for action, when the players got well to work. I seemed to feel that my real place was at their side. I had been too lately weaned, but I kept my feelings to myself.

I believe in music as I believe in pictures for the masses. It draws people together, oils the wheels of the social system, and very much facilitates the intercourse between a pastor and his flock. Music is better than penny readings or lectures for this purpose, chiefly because penny readings, as a rule, are so badly and stupidly conducted. For one person who can attract attention by his reading or lecturing there are a dozen who can excite interest among the poorer classes by singing and playing; and professional musicians are, as a rule, very kind and liberal in giving their services if only a fit occasion presents itself.  

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excerpt from 'My Musical Life' pp. 116-7 (345 words)


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