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McMahon, Edward M. (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 9, Number 3 (Dec. 1907)

Parker, F. A.
A retrospect,   pp. 91-95


Page 91


                          SPECIAL ARTICLES                              91
                     A RETROSPECT
     By F. A. PARKER, who after twenty-nine years of service to the university,
     resigned his position as the director of the School of Music last June
 I GLADLY comply with the request     the academic year then beginning.
    of the editor of this magazine to  Musical instruction had been given
 furnish some account of the musical  in earlier years by various teachers,
 progress of the university during my  all of whom served but short periods,
 connection with it, partly because   varying from one to three years, and
 of my own interest in the work,       attempting nothing beyond individ-
 which has wholly occupied the best   ual or private lessons in voice and
 years of my life, and partly because  piano. So far as could be learned
 I know that others have taken an in-  at that time, no effort had been made
 terest in its growth, who will pro-  looking toward the systematic organ-
 bably now find some pleasure in a    ization of the musical activities of
 short summary of the steps taken in  the university. Whispers about the
 progressing from small beginnings to  organization  of a  department of
 some substantial results.  Of neces-  music were in the air, but the first
 sity such  a statement must lean     suggestions looking toward such an
 strongly toward plain narration, and  end were met with objections and
 if it contains no elements of a pictur-  discouragement. Probably the most
 esque or sensational order either in  forceful of these objections was this,
 matter or manner, I shall at least   that the large agricultural popula-
 endeavor not to be prolix, not to deal  tion of the state, which was taxed
 largely-with tni-aliies        - the-----for the             th   iversity,
 personal pronoun appears to be un-   would not look with favor upon the
 duly prominent, it is not with the   active development of a department
 desire to exalt the individual, but to  of study in the subject so purely
 prevent circumlocution  and   favor  ornamental and unpractical as music.
 directness of statement.              I at once recognized the fact that
 I was called to the University of  much patience must be exercised,
 Wisconsin in September, 1878, to     and a large amount of pioneer work
 look after the musical interests of  done, before noteworthy resultscould
 the students of the university, with  be secured. In speaking of the situ-
 the title of "Instructor in Vocal and  ation and the necessity of pioneer
 Instrumental Music."   The univer-   work, it should be said that it
is not
 sity at that time had an instructional  designed to convey the impression
 force of twenty professors and eleven  that this was an especially barren
 instructors.  The  number of the     field, or that it has been less cultiva-
 students was four hundred forty-     ted than others. Similar conditions
 nine, of whom one hundred twenty     prevailed in many, probably in most
belonged to the preparatory school, of the large colleges of the country,
which was abolished at the close of  especially the growing state universi-


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