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" These musicians are a queer set; it is hard to please them; it is hard to get along with them! " This and similar expressions one hears every now and then from the lips of people who think they know of what they speak. We will lay down a few rules of etiquette for the benefit of such; they may get along better with musicians by learning a lesson from them. When you invite a musician to dine with you, give him at once to understand that you expect him to entertain your com­pany. Any man of self-respect will appreciate such an invitation. If he comes and does play, be sure to start a lively discussion while he is at the piano, for this is a compliment that cannot fail to please him. When he has played his selections, tell him how you
enjoyed the performance of this or that great pianist or singer, who perchance performed the same pieces. It places the musician in a favorable light, and makes him feel comfortable, or, if you please, enter a complaint against the style of his music, either that it is too classic or too popular, for this shows that you are a man of good taste and judgment. If you are acquainted among the musicians of your town, criticise those that are absent; it is reasonable to suppose that he indulges in like unfavorable opinions of other musicians and that he will be pleased with your remarks. If you have a very difficult piece on hand, ask him to play it at sight, for what sort of a musician is he who cannot play every­thing at sight? When a musician refuses to play, keep
School Songs.
on asking him, for his refusal is only a pretense. It is true you would not press a man to eat if he declined, but then there isa difference between eating and playing. A musician ought always to be ready to play, no matter ho w he feels. Of course, you would not think of asking a lawyer who dines with you for an opinion in a case that involves a lawsuit, nor would you ask a physician to prescribe for your child while you socially entertained him, for these people charge for their professional labor; but why should a musician refuse to give you and your company the benefit of his skill ? His work is only play, that's all. If he views the matter from a different standpoint, denounce him as selfish and mean, and do what you can to injure his business among your friends.
When you expect a musician to play tor you, don't take the trouble to have a tuner examine the condition of your piano. What if it is out of tune! If you are satisfied with discords, the musician surely ought to be­lt is different with painters; they must have good brushes and paints, to produce good pictures; a mechanic must have good tools to do good work, but a musician should make good music on any old trap of an organ or piano, whether in tune or not. One more rule: Every­body likes to be treated with a patronizing air, musicians especially. Let them feel your superiority socially and financially; treat them as a class who live on flattery, and must be indulged as children. This is the best way to get along with these queer people!—Karl Mers.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III