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Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Before any attempt can be made to show in what ways the school music program may influence the character of children, the problem must be presented and terms defined.
Since this study is not intended to be one of extended psychological research, the reader should bear in mind that the problem is that of the music teacher and not of the psychologist or expert counselor. Therefore our terms will be defined in a very liberal manner, more as they are understood by the average reader.
By character training is meant the conscious or unconscious effort on the part of parents, teachers, or others closely associated with the child, to bring about improvement in the child's habits of feeling, thinking, and acting. Good character is "not only knowing what is right but wanted to do it, and eventually doing it".1
The school music program as herein referred to is an all inclusive term covering all grades from kindergarten through college, all active participation courses as well as those in appreciation, all activities both curricular and extra-curricular, in which music plays an active part, such as dancing, drama, etc. However, it may be stated that this work was written with the secondary school groups, junior and senior high schools, most prominently in mind.
It has been claimed that music has great powers over human emotions. If this is true, music is indeed a dangerous thing unless used with discretion.
That character is influenced to a great extent by the emotions is denied by but few.
Therefore, if we can establish a definite relationship between music and human emotions, and character and the emotions, the relationship between music and character training becomes obvious.
Because of this firm belief in the importance of the school music program in aiding the development of strong character, an appeal is here made to the serious minded educator to consider not only what music should be taught, but also under what conditions.
Education should fit people for living, day by day, a full and satisfying life. In order to live such a life it is necessary that plenty of work which includes a certain element of play be included. How our people shall spend their play hours in the future is decided by what their education is today. Music is a prominent factor in reaching out and enriching home and civic life. In this way music has great potentialities in the program of character training.
Riley, James W.. (1938). The character building influences of the school music program. University of the Pacific, Thesis. https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/uop_etds/981