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CHAPTER XII. MEMORY TRAINING AND EXAMINATION SCHEMES.
111. Few we think will care to deny, that in the present day, the education of the musical student, while ostensibly in the hands of the teacher, is really directed and controlled by those who frame the many schemes of examination which now exist In fact the large majority of pupils make no secret of their desire to secure some certificate, diploma, or degree which shall testify to their ability in one or more departments of musical study.
112. The Influence of Examinations.—If it were certain that every examination scheme before the public was framed by musicians who were thoroughly able musical educationalists in the broadest sense of the term, that is, not merely teachers in some one or two special departments, but men who realise what is fundamental in any efficient and complete scheme of musical education, as well as the relative importance of the various subjects—musicians who were alive to the immense power they wield for good or for evil in shaping the musical present and future of this country, and were unanimously agreed in demanding a reasonably high standard of efficiency before granting any certificate—the present craze to be examined could do little permanent harm. Unhappily, however, these conditions are very far from being fulfilled at the present time. Perhaps the saddest aspect of the case is presented by the active existence of numerous irresponsible examining bodies, whose methods belong rather to the shop and the market-place than to the practice of a high and honourable profession. Into the nets of these institutions the unwary student, unable to distinguish the true from the false, strays, only however to discover, when it is too late, that he has parted with his substance in return for a most unsatisfactory shadow. But putting this evil—and it is no small or insignificant one—aside, and assuming the atmosphere to be cleared of all these will-o'-the-wisp institutions, there remains yet much to be said against, and much to be laid at the door of the existing state of over-examination, for we can describe it in no other words. Whilst loyally acknowledging the large amount of good which has undoubtedly resulted from the establishment of some of the existing boards of examination,* we cannot close our eyes to the fact that the prevailing fashion is responsible for a very large amount of mis-directed, and therefore wasted effort on the part of the musical student. In many ways it has been a serious
• In raising the ideal and denning the aims of the teacher, the establishment of the Associated Board of the R.A.M. and R.C.M. may be said to have marked an epoch in Local Examinations in Music.