Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

snippets from the past

"Fancy poultry parts sold here, breasts and thighs and hearts, backs are cheap and wings are nearly free"--old Suzanne Vega song

Among a huge box of old music books I bought for nearly nothing on eBay last month, I found a book called "Creative Music in the Home", by Satis N. Coleman. This edition of the book was published in 1939.
The former owner of the book placed a New York Herald Tribune newspaper cutting from 1961 in the front part of the book, which is Ms. Coleman's obituary. Ms. Coleman focused on teaching music to children.
She objected to using the piano as the first instrument, on the grounds that it was too difficult.
A survivor of childhood piano lessons myself, I know what she meant. Her own quote was that most children taking piano lessons sound like "a cheap pianola from a second-hand piano store", which, sadly, fails to have the desired effect on me, because that sounds pretty cool.

She wrote "Creative Music for Children" in 1922, which focuses on teaching kids to play simple songs on home-made instruments. I always think that old craft-oriented books for kids are the best way to learn anything.

This Satis Coleman taught at the teachers' college at Columbia, in New York, but she died in Cedar Falls, Iowa. In the book, between the pages about the French Horn and the pages about the Tuba,
a single piece of letterhead from the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston resides, with a pencil-written address of someone named Towrey on Finlay Street on it. An obituary in the newspaper describes the passing of the "professional world speed typing" champion of 1914, who went to work for Underwood Typewriters. I'd tell you more about it, but I'm about to read "Drums and How to Make Them".
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