January 17, 1920
Page 37
Building Teachers Who Make Music Live for the Young; Is Steadfast Ideal of Julia Crane

Founder of Crane Normal Institute of Music Has Always Held to Belief that Music Study in Public Schools be on Par with Other Studies—Prospective Teacher Has Opportunity to Observe Every Phase of Public School Music Work—A Genuine Progressive

POTSDAM, N. Y., Jan. 6. —Since psychologists and other great writers on education have decided that music functions vitally in a child’s development, we read and hear much about school music, systems of teaching it, courses of music study for public schools, and more recently, credits toward graduation for applied music study either in or outside of the school room. In short, the modern view of a musical education is, that “it is not for the few alone who have talent, but for all.”
A pioneer with this conviction, who has devoted her life to her ideal, is Julia E. Crane of Potsdam, N.Y.
In this small community of northern New York, her birthplace and the scene of the major portion of her professional life, Miss Crane has, through her inspired leadership, undoubtedly exerted a very great influence toward the present status of music in education in the United States.
In 1884, thirty-five years ago, Miss Crane established in the Normal School of Potsdam a department of music, based upon the belief that music study in the public school system should be on a par with mathematics or any other subject in the curriculum.
This department soon became a factor of such importance that progressive superintendents created a demand for trained teachers and supervisors of music, which in turn led to the inception of the Crane Normal Institute of Music. This school not only gives instruction in musical subject matter, theory, history, harmony, ear-training, musical analysis, orchestration and conducting, but it is so well equipped and organized that its students are able not only to observe the working out of the theory of public school music instruction, but are given the opportunity to develop, under expert guidance, the technique of teaching through practical experience, as teachers from the first grade through the high school and Normal School, if desired. Having spent considerable time in observing the foremost schools of the country, which provide training for music supervision, the writer has concluded that the practical side of the course of study is the factor which makes the Crane Institute of Music unique.
Many schools present excellent courses in subject matter, but there is no other school, to the writer’s knowledge, where the prospective teacher or supervisor has similar opportunity to observe ideal work in every phase of public school music, and, most exceptional, where he may have actual experience in aiding in the achievement of these results. In the writer’s opinion the deplorable state of school music in many communities is due to the fact that many music supervisors have really not been trained for school room work, or their instruction has been too full of idealistic theories and not enough definite direction has been given regarding the needs of the child’s musical development. Many a community which has had paid music supervisors for more than twenty years, has net yet the faintest conception of the force or value of music in the scheme of education.
Teachers Obtain Practice
In order to realize the practical side of her instruction, Miss Crane, in addition to her responsibilities as principal of the Institute, is head of the music department of the Potsdam State Normal School, with its teacher training department, its elementary school and its high school, where prospective teachers obtain practice. She has so organized her faculty that the Institute is responsible for the music of the Potsdam Public Schools. Her prospective supervisors may, after observations, have two years of experience in teaching and actual experience in supervision, before graduation. In this school seeing stimulates ideals and doing aids in achievement.
With this equipment, Crane graduates have made a name for themselves and their school. They may be found in New England, in the Middle West, in the South, in California, in fact nearly every State of the union has a Crane representative promulgating the ideals of his Alma Mater.
The school home adjoins the property of the State Normal School. Private instructions are given in this building. All class lessons are given in the Normal School building, which is equipped with grand pianos and a fine pipe organ.
Julia E. Crane, the inspiration of this enterprise, is a woman of marked individuality and charming personality. Her teachers were Harry Wheeler, Mme. Luisa Cappiani and others of note in America, and in her European study she was a pupil of Manuel Garcia.
Excepting the teaching which Miss Crane has done at summer schools in the East, at the University of Wisconsin and at the Southern California University at Los Angeles, her entire life has been spent in furthering her ideals in her home community. She has had many flattering offers to leave Potsdam, to enter larger fields and to receive larger remuneration for her labors, but she is too modest and retiring to venture into metropolitan fields or to seek publicity.
Potsdam has gained thereby, and so has the army of young people who have been privileged to come under her tutelage. Through all of these years her community, her co-workers and her pupils have been her friends and her enthusiastic supporters. One is impressed with her absolute sincerity of purpose and with her desire to accomplish results which shall endure. She animates her students with her own enthusiasm and zeal, and leads them to inspire and direct others. She makes them “experience that exultation of spirit which comes from successful achievement.” Miss Crane has written a Music Teacher’s Manual which is declared by prominent educators to be a very clear and helpful work of its kind. She has held official positions in state and national musical organizations; has given freely of her time in appearing before audiences and in writing for periodicals upon various phases of the school music problem.
She has used excellent judgment in the choice of her assistants, Mrs. Harriet Crane Bryant and Mrs. Ellen Snyder-Morgan being teachers of voice of broad experience as singers and teachers. Edith Austin, who has charge of the Department of Theory, is unusually well equipped for her work. Erva Skinner has charge of the music course in the normal school and assists as a critic teacher, and Ora Spencer is assistant to Miss Austin in the Department of Theory. Richard Tunnicliffe, an organist, a specialist, too, in public school work, has charge of the department of Principles of Education—class management and supervision of the city schools of Potsdam. Franklin H. Bishop has charge of violin instruction, orchestration, and is director of the glee clubs.
On Lookout for New Ideas
While Miss Crane has very definite ideas concerning school music, she is always open to conviction regarding the opinions of others in her field of work. She feels it her duty to visit schools and communities which are musically “on the map,” so to speak, and particularly where new plans or methods are being used. These trips have often taken her almost across the continent. Whatever she deems sound pedagogically is given a thorough trial in her school and credit is always given the originator of the plan. By these means her students become conversant with all phases of modern music teaching and with the various “systems” —so called—which are advanced through different sets of books issued by various school book publishing houses. Crane graduates are thus given a broad outlook upon their chosen work. They are taught child psychology. They learn how to care for children’s voices. They are given experience in presenting programs with children, but are convinced that it is in the work done for educational routine that the province of school music lies, not in public displays. These student supervisors realize, through their experiences, that if school music has a part or a place in education it is their duty to make it really function in the child’s development. To them public school music is not confined to a particular set of school text books. Miss Crane contends that since no teacher of reading or mathematics has ever found one text in reading or arithmetic all-sufficient for the best results, why should a supervisor of music thus narrow his horizon in teaching an art which is universal in its appeal?


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