CJ Replay: Education in the Fine Arts
Date: January 30, 2014
(An excerpt from the Choral Journal column, “Da Capo,” by Alfred Mirovitch)
Education's primary aim should be to foster the growth of the whole [person], the complete human being, not the dedication to one specific skill, or technic, or specialty, nor solely the accumulation of knowledge, of cold facts, rules and statistics. Practical idealism should lead us toward a higher degree of accomplishment through the greatest possible development and use of all our powers.
This, in my opinion, is overwhelmingly valid with regard to education in the fine arts, and particularly with regard to music. I have never agreed with the philosophy of "art for art's sake." Art is not only a "beautiful necessity," it exists to portray life, to explain it, to improve it, to express what otherwise cannot be expressed.
What are the underlying root-qualities and inner forces which enable us to grow and to accomplish in all walks of life? In business, as in daily life, in all professions, in science as in the fine arts, the same forces are at work. What are those forces?
They are: first, the forces of the human mind, probably, the greatest gift received by man as his birthright; its quality, its technique of concentration, observation, deduction, and analysis, and the constant, intensive work of the mind in application to our life's task. Second, but equal in the domain of human endeavor, are the forces of character: humility before all greatness, will power, system and order, intensity in participation in all phenomena of life.