Phonograph Monthly Review, Vol. 3, No. 5 (1929-02)

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February, 1929 The Phonograph Monthly Review 149 Music and Business By ELBRIDGE W. NEWTON (Photograph Biographical Note Elbridge W. Newton was born and reared on a farm in Vermont. He attended district school, went to the academy in Townshend, and, began teaching in rural schools at the age of seventeen. He continued teaching and farming for four years, after which he went to Barre, Vermont, secured work in a granite shop, and at the same time commenced fitting for college at Goddard Seminary. In 1886 he en- tered Tufts College and graduated in 1890 with the degree of A. B., having specialized in history, mathematics, and music. Two years as principal of a high school in New Hamp- shire followed, and then he entered the employ of Ginn and Company as a textbook salesman, but his onusical tendencies were strong enough to influence him to devote his entire time later to the selling of music textbooks. He had begun the study of the violin at the age of nine and had studied voice and musical theory at Goddard Seminary. While at Tufts he had been a pupil of Leo R. Lewis, and later studied with Theodore Van Yorx, Dr. Percy Goetschius, and Frederic Field Bullard. After a course at the National Summer School in Boston he commenced to devote all his time to school music. There followed years of research, experimental teaching in various schools, and close application to the study of psychology and applied pedagogy, as well as music. His first book was published by Ginn and Company in 1907. Other books followed, until up to the present time he has edited, himself or in collaboration with others, twenty-five volumes covering practically every phase of music in the public schools. His lecture experience has been extensive. He has appeared in seventeen different states before state conventions, universities, music clubs, teachers’ organizations, and miscellaneous gatherings. For years he has been regarded as an expert in music education. Through his position as a musical editor of school publications, he has been able to take a leading place in the development and improvement of music in schools. His purpose is to formulate and conduct school music study so consistently that upon the completion of the high-schopl course pupils will have a thorough acquaintance with music literature, from the simple folk tune to the symphony. D URING a recent motor trip in northern New England I chanced upon an old acquaintance whom I used to know as a blacksmith and who is now running a garage. He explained that he used to make a good living shoeing horses, but as the automobile became more and more prevalent his business suffered. He said significantly, “Finally we were just swamped with automobiles, and it paid us to get ac- quainted with them and know something about them.’’ He had been wise to take advantage of. the tendency of the times. The blacksmith age has passed and the automobile age is upon us. Yes, and along with it the music age. At the present writing, just as with the automobile we are over- whelmed with music, and it will pay every one of us to get acquainted with it and know something about it. We are paying for it; why not get our money’s worth? This is:busi- ness. Music Now a Staple The grade of importance we attach to any commodity in life depends upon the degree of its usefulness and the sacrifice we have to make to obtain it. For example, com, and wheat are most important of all soil products because of the demand for them and the amount we have to pay for them. Last year the people of this country paid for corn a sum of money beyond conception, two billions of dollars; for cotton, a on front cover) billion and a quarter; for wheat, almost a billion. These are figures which we accept without comment, because we know that these commodities are necessities for one hundred twenty millions of people; and yet let it be known that last year the people of this* country paid a billion dollars for music,—half as much as for corn, almost as much as for cot- ton, and more money for music than for wheat, the staff of life! Incredible as it may seem, these figures are not only correct; they are even conservative. Therefore it is high time that we pause, consider, and reconstruct our ideas about the impor- tance of music. It is not reasonable for each to ask of him- self, “Can I appreciate music half as well as I can appreciate corn, nearly as well as I can appreciate cotton, better than I can appreciate wheat? I certainly ought to, otherwise I am losing money.” Not so many years ago the red-blooded, hard-boiled busi- ness man ignored music or looked upon it with scant tolerance. He saw no practical dollars-and-cents value in it. To be sure his wife entertained lavishly and always tried to have a new soprano or an emotional tenor or a long-haired violin star for the delectation of her guests and the consternation of her social competitors. His daughter played the harp and his son the saxophone. But this, of course, was trivial. Then the Great War came and he was surprised to learn that one of the requisites “over there” was music, because it excelled in maintaining the morale of the troops. Music as Radio Advertising Finally the radio was perfected. He liked this. With his pipe and slippers he sat back in comfort and enjoyed the prize fights, the football games, the news, and the political speeches, but intermingled with all of these was music, and lots of it. His favorite coffee was advertised by music, and it wasn’t bad either. Strange to say, he found himself buying other articles advertised by music. Through long exposure to music he became accustomed to it, enjoyed it, and looked forward to it. As time went on he discovered that a great corporation in which he had implicit confidence and in which he had invested heavily was advertising by means of music. In fact ninety-six per cent of all the radio advertising by this great industrial concern was music. The company was suc- cessful, and progressive, was thoroughly practical and paid big dividends; and music was an asset in gaining these divi- dends. This was something of a shock. Was he wrong in his estimate of music? He certainly must be. He would have to revise his estimate of the value of music, for it was' good business judgment to do so. Music functions in our lives much more extensively today than ever before. There is more music in the church, in the school, at social occasions, such as the theatre, movies, the cafe, weddings, and banquets. Into our homes by way of the radio comes the symphony orchestra (two or three of them), always with superior music. Next in importance there are excellent aggregations of instrumentalists such as the Augusto Vannini group, the Anglo-Persians, the Gypsies, the Troubadours, and many, many others. A great automobile concern presents not only a full orchestra but also a brass band, besides additional musical artists. Practically all of these groups of fine musicians come to us as advertising for some commercial product. It is estimated that forty millions of people are exposed daily in their homes to two hours of good music. Just imagine the effect of this on the family and the rising generation. Music now takes its place as a necessity like food, clothes, and fuel. Music on the Modern Phonograph Not only this, but the phonograph in its present form is keeping pace with the radio. Dr. Roister, famous as a radio and phonograph inventor, has come forward with his re- markable Columbia-Kolster. This machine is really a radio-