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Amusements for the Sedentary.
tion to our schools were settled; and if our own opinion or remarks should be of any service-either in the present instance or any other-we shall rejoice that the Annals' has given us an opportunity of presenting them.
ARE GAMES OF CONTRIVANCE INJURIOUS ?
From the very same individual from whom we received the foregoing letter in regard to the use of Keys, we received, a few days later, the following:
* You will pardon me for troubling you again so soon. I am anxious to learn your sentiments on another subject intimately connected with the education of youth.
• I have just been looking over the “Young Man's Guide," and find that in your remarks on the subject of gaming, you have made no distinction between games of chance and games
of trivance. Whether
Whether you think there is really no essential difference in their moral tendency or not, I cannot decide from any thing I have seen in your writings.
• Chess, Drafts, and other games of calculation are encouraged and even taught, as I understand, in the Moral Reform School, at South Boston ; and I am personally acquainted with a number of teachers and ministers who encourage playing chess among their pupils and children.
* Now if the moral tendency of such pastimes is bad, christian teachers and parents ought certainly to be warned against encouraging them; and if their tendency is not immoral, their efforts should be made to do away the prejudice which is so prevalent against them.'
We cannot conceive of any solid advantages likely to be derived from playing at games of calculation or contrivance, of any sort, especially in the case of pupils or students at school. if they are designed as a species of mental discipline, we think they are far inferior in this respect to several branches of the mathematics, if not to most of the natural sciences. If they are designed as amusements, merely, they seem to fail most effectually, of securing the end for which they were intended. The student and the sedentary need active exercise in the open air. How can it relieve the mind-much more the body—to sit down and play at chess, morrice, &c.! To the individual, young or old, who had been active all day, in the open air, and whose
Letter from a Physician. mind had been little employed, these sports might do better ; but they are among the last we should choose for our pupils.
Grant that they are a relief, after severe study. So is one hard study a relief from the pain induced by another. So the gold headed cane, which, in the story related by Miss Edgeworth, the father gave to his little boy, when fatigued with walking, was a great relief to his weary limbs, and helped him on in his journey. And yet, in all these instances, there is room for much deception in regard to consequences. The temporary relief which is afforded, seems to us more than counterbalanced by the subsequent debility. We are much in favor of recreations; but they should be philosophical, or at least natural.
Still if any thing of the kind were to be admitted, as is said to be the case at South Boston, we should prefer such as may more properly be regarded games of contrivance, to those of more chance. If nothing were left us but a choice of evils, it would be folly not to choose the least. But it would be greater folly still to choose either, if both could possibly and easily be avoided.
EDUCATION OF BOYS.
Though we have no reason to think the following letter was intended for the public eye, yet believing its author would not object to its insertion in this work, and that it would interest those who saw our number for January, we have taken a liberty, for once, to which we are not accustomed. The letter is dated at Newburgh, Feb. 21st.
Dear Sir: Having seen the mention of my establishment, for the education of boys, in your excellent periodical, and being pleased that our views on education coincide in so great a degree, and aware that you have no knowledge of me or my family, but simply from the advertisement copied from the New York Observer, I am induced to give you a brief history of its rise; and as you have named the advantages that seem to flow from the adoption of such a plan, you will permit me to follow you a little in the mention of them.
It was not till I had practised my medical profession nearly twenty years, -a part of the time in one of our southern cities, and a part in this village—that the idea of devoting myself to the education of youth, first presented itself to my mind. In search
of some plan by which to proceed in the prosecution of this design, none seemed sufficiently feasible to invite adoption, but that of the ordinary boarding school; and this was so fraught with objections, as to force me to the adoption of the one now in prosecution. A strong desire to be devoted to the purposes of education, a hope that I might advance the interesis of my pupils, and the expectation that a fair pecuniary compensation would follow my exertions, were at that time the amount of my reflections.
On the subject of education I had not then studied ; nor did 1, immediately : but when the boarding school plan presented itself to me, it was easy to see that its adoption would devolve on me the important offices of both father and teacher, with all the responsibility and irritations. These I seared ; and I accordingly determined on the adoption of a family, to which I would endeavor to perform all, and only the duties of a father, devoted solely to that object.
Three imporiant points seem to you to be gained by this method ; viz: 'that the pupils have iwo instructors; that they are under the co-operative influence of both home and school ; and that they have the instruction of a medical gentleman.' The last seems to you to be the important benefit gained in such an establishment.
Now while I agree with you, perfectly, that all circumstances and qualifications alike, the physician, by the practice of his profession-seeing the human character in greater extent and diversity—habitually judging of the mutual operation of the body and mind, and continually engaged in devising the best means for the management and improvement of both, must necessarily be well fitted to guide the moral, intellectual and physical education of youth-still I am of the impression that the most important point to be gained is contained in what you have will called the rare privilege of being under the co-operative influence of both house and school.
These, to my mind, have been mixed ; so mixed, that much of the education of our country has been carried on almost without the influence of either. It is in separating these and giving as it were, to each its own instructor-it is in removing school, and allowing the house to exert its own proper a d unmixed influi nce, enabling me to direct my whole energies to the education of my family, almost without the introduction of books a d schools - it is in systematizing and perfecting, in some degree, the inestimable model school,' or family state, so deserved. ly admired, that the excellence of this establishment will be found.
Inquiries on Teaching Music. Surely it is no small privilege for children, far from home and friends, to be under the imniediate eye of a medical man in the formation and preservation of vigorous and healthful physical constitution ; but it is to my mind far more valuable that the moral and intellectual constitution be under its proper government and instruction; and this is impossible without the influence of home. It is by no means intended, by what is said above, to take from schools their value as assistants in the education of youth ; but the are merely assistants. I am aware that to send to school, and to educate, in these days, mean nearly the same thing; but whoever has watched with proper care and solicitude the education, merely, of his own children, has found -and to his astonishment, too-how small a part in the substantial or polite education of young gentlemen or ladies, is the daily study and recital of small portions of useful knowledge in the form of lessons. With sentiments of the highest esteem,
I am yours,
H. P. BENHAM.
VOCAL MUSIC IN SCHOOLS.
[We received, in April last, the following letter from one of our correspondents, who is a teacher. We embrace the earliest opportunity of inserting it.]
Dear Sir: Having introduced the study and practice of vocal music into our school, and not having had so great success in this as in other studies, the conclusion is fair, that there must be something wrong or defective in our mode of teaching it. And, now you would do us, and perhaps teachers in this section generally, a very great favor, if you would give us, through the pages of the Annals, a description of the mode uscd, of teaching this branch, in the Boston Schools. Allow me to call your attention to a few points connected with this inquiry, upon which, if you should sec fit to gratify us, we should be glad to have you particularly speak.
1. How to gain attention to the rudiments' of music.
2. Whether an entire school composed of pupils of various ages and both sexes, can receive instruction to advantage in one class.
3. What tunes, kind of tunes, or collection of music, should be given to a school?
Replies by a Professor of Music.
4. What should be said to parents when they leave it with their children to study music or not, as they (the children) please? (No 'extra' charge is made for vocal music in our school)
5. Do the Boston schools generally sing more than one part, as second, tenor, or bass?
6. Is there to be found a short plain (anatomical) description of the organs of voice, from which children can gain a correct idea of the wonderful instrument which they use so much ?
[The letter was submitted to one of the Professors of the Boston Academy of Music, with a request that he would find time to answer it, which he has done in ibe following manner ]
1. If instruction be given according to the “ Manual of instruction in the Elements of Vocal Music,” published by the Boston Academy of Music, it will be found comparatively easy to hold the attention of the children. Proceeding according to the directions here given, it is believed there is no study in which it is more easy to command attention—and no study which interests children more.
* 2. Can an entire school composed of pupils of various ages, &c., receive instruction to advantage in one class in Geography, Arithmetic, History, or any other branch of education? - The cases are analagous-and if not in one-then not in the other. There is, however, this difference at the commencement of a school, viz. In all other departments there is sufficient knowledge already possessed by the pupil to enable the teacher to proceed at once to a classification of his school; whereas, in music, almost all are entirely ignorant. In consequence of this, a miscellaneous class may, for a short time receive instruction together-but it will soon become necessary to separate the younger from the older. Boys and girls may learn together.
'3. All tunes or songs are taught by rote, and not from a knowledge of musical characters; that is, for a considerable time, say a year or so.
Books therefore, are unnecessary, except for words. The “ Juvenile Singing School,” is the best book, and should be in the hands of the teacher. Pupils also always desire to have it.
•4: Many parents suppose their children cannot learn music; when this is the case, the error should be corrected, as it has been abundantly proved that a capacity for music is as universal as is a capacity for learning other things. In other cases we must convince them of the utility of the thing in view, if possible-I know of no other way.