Folk Song Of The American Negro - Online Book

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WHAT THE NEGRO'S MUSIC MEANS TO HIM.
117
The study of the attitude of the educators in regard to this music is more interesting than that of any other class. For conveni�ence we have sub-divided this class into (a) teachers, (b) clergymen, (c) musician, (d) authors. While there is generally a favorable attitude among these groups, each group is influenced by their view�point, which is determined by their calling. The teachers regard this music as a desirable possession, which is worth study and under�standing. They have a feeling of ownership of something original; and if teachers admire any one quality in the course of education, it is originality. They find that this music grips the hearts of the scholars and awakens interest. Teachers always welcome interest in pupils. They find in this music a refreshing departure from the routine of the class room, giving variety to the work. Then there is around this folk song an atmosphere invigorating and inspiring. All this is of practical help to the teacher. Subjectively, the teacher is the better for an understanding of this music, for which his intelli�gence fits. Not only does he experience intellectual, but spiritual en�joyment as well.
The clergymen's regard is determined almost wholly by the reli�gious power of this music. The wise preacher who really understands his people and the preacher who helps them most, knows that he must take into consideration and give due reverence to the Negro's emotional nature, the whole world to the contrary notwithstanding. Of course, this can be overdone and it often is, but on the other hand many Negro preachers fail because they go too far the other way. They long for the reputation, "intellectual", and discountenance and discourage any manifestations of "feeling." But the arousing of a feeling for the right, is a very nearly sure way of having right done. I am certain that this is psychological heresy, but experience has proved and will continue to prove that the Negro's soul obeys some such law. And the truth is, the souls of some others work the same way. Most men know the right, but it is where they have an enthu�siasm for the right, that they will do right. To the preacher these songs of the Negro are powers for arousing "feelings for the right." It is hardly believable that any man could remain the same and unaffected, after singing in the spirit, "Lord, I Want to be Like Jesus," or "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord V So it seems plain, that the preacher who uses this music to add momentum to the gospel, is wise.








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