Treasure Trove of Musical Ideas

A few months ago my husband came home with a huge box of old sheet music he found at a garage sale for $15. I was, at once, both excited and dismayed — because we were in the midst of moving/home renovations/summer with three kids and I didn’t have a place to store it. Luckily, I’m a bit of a hoarder, so here we are now, on a nice crisp January evening, and I can finally look through the box.


I pulled an old book out of the pile — the cover is barely holding on but the pages are intact — titled “Favorite Songs and Hymns for School and Home” by J. P. Mc Caskey. The copyright is 1899. After a little research (aka…a quick Google search), I found out that this entire book is available for FREE online!

What is intriguing about this book is that on almost every page there are sections containing in-depth writing, quotations, and facts about music, music history, composers, etc. These sub-sections could be an entire book in and of themselves!

Here is an example of such writing on only one page, (106), the quotation attributed to Holt:

“The most favorable period in the whole school life for laying a solid foundation for the intelligent rendering of music is the first three years, and here is where we must make a more sensible and intelligent beginning. We need first to appreciate the ability of the little child to learn the elements of music. This we shall never know till we learn better how to present these elements in their simplicity, in accordance with the mental laws, by which the mind acquires a knowledge of all subjects. The supposition has been that little children could not be taught to read music intelligently, simply because it had not been generally and successfully accomplished. The failure has not been on account of inability on the part of the children to learn music, nor on account of the notation by which it is represented, as some would have us to believe, but on account of a lack of knowledge amount those employed in the teaching of this subject.”

Indeed! And we can thank Dr. Suzuki for his ideas in teaching and nurturing the love of music in small children! Look how many young children now know how to play and read music! We are so lucky to live in a world that recognizes the importance of children learning music. Yes, we still have our battles, especially in the schools, to sustain and develop music programs. But as a parent, you do have options. There are so many private music teachers out there. And now, we even have the Internet to connect with others. What a wonderful time we live in.

So, fellow music aficionados, I would recommend checking out that book — and the website on which it is available, Internet Archive, has many more interesting things to find. So no complaining of being bored on these cold January days. Practice your music, or at least read and learn about it!

On that note, I have also been taking a great online course on the website Coursera about the world of the STRING QUARTET! It has been amazing! Check it out if you have the time! There are so many great musical learning resources on this website, it’s so great.


The Aizuri Quartet

Stay tuned for more posts about what I found in that magical box of music — I must share that I also found some copies of a periodical titled “The Etude” from 1919!!! There are so many interesting articles in it that I must share with you soon.

In the meantime, have a wonderful day! Cheers!