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General Ends and Expression,
THE VALUE OF THE TONE DRILLS
The reading aloud of poetry and prose is a process different from that of ordinary conversation. In natural conversation everything is spontaneous. There are real objective and subjective causes, and in all likelihood we are unconscious of delivery. But when reading aloud we have not these real causes and are conscious of our processes. And even in speaking extempore it is the exception to find the speaker free from this consciousness and not artificial.
Exactly here we find the office of the teacher of expression. It is to so assist the reader or speaker that he will be able to express the thoughts and feelings as effectively as in spontaneous conversation; in fact, more so.
How is Vocal Expression to attain this ? How is the teacher to proceed? What would common sense tell us ? What does the best pedagogics say? What does psychology say? We must proceed from the simple to the complex, from the easy to the hard. In expression what is entitled to be called simple? It surely will be those things that we do and do constantly. Those things that we know, those things with which we are familiar; those things that are within our experience.
We set before the student these lines from Tennyson and ask him to read them:
Ah; blessed vision! blogd of God!
Hy spirit:leats..ber. niortal bars,
And star-like mingles with the stars.
What a miserable failure he makes! Why? Because he is asked to give spontaneous expression to the thoughts and feelings of another, couched in words, style and arrangement foreign to his own experience. In the case of the average person who for the first time tries to read such language as this, the words and their arrangement, the strangeness of it all, the marked difference between the phraseology and that in daily use—all these erect a barrier which, without assistance, it seems impossible to surmount. A student looks at Tennyson's lines and says to himself, consciously or unconsciously, "I never said 'blessed vision,' I never said 'Blood of God, I never said 'my spirit beats her mortal bars,' and I never heard any one else speak them—these sensations and this phraseology are all outside of my experience!" Hence he flounders through it in a manner that would make Tennyson weep.
What then must be done? The student has told us that it all seems outside of his experience. Then, if that is so, before we can attain true naturalness we must show him that this phraseology and these sensations are not so foreign as they seem. How can this be done? Very simply. And therein is to be found the core of the true method of instruction. We can get the student to tell these thoughts and feelings well only by likening them to something in his own experience. They must be likened to something that the student has himself said or done or felt, or heard, or seen. The complex must be reduced to the simple, the unknown must be translated into the known, the unfamiliar must be shown to be based on the familiar. The primary problem, then, is the recalling and the making vivid to the pupil his own experiences and showing their resemblance, in essence, to literature. The accomplishment of these ends is the main purpose of this book.
For over ten years the author has used in class and in private instruction the major portion of the drills in expression set forth in the following pages. During that time he has found nothing so effective in attaining satisfactory results in speaking and reading as these Tone Drills.
The interest with which a class seizes upon these Tone Drills, the fact that the colloquial examples come within ordinary experience, that the Drills enable even a large class to be given personal recitation and criticism at every session, that they permit of chorus drill with the retention of each pupil's individuality, that they make vivid to the pupil the objectivity of utterance, that the colloquial and the classical are placed in constant relation-all these things combine to make the Tone Drills the most valuable of exercises for truth and naturalness in expression.
The value of the Tone Drills might be summarized thus :
The Tone Drills help to rid the pupil of artificiality and secure naturalness. They do so by coming vividly into the pupil's experience and by showing him that the classical in literature has its similarities and equivalents in his own sensations, and vice versa. He sees that the colloquial “what a magnificent sunset !" (See Tone Drill 1c) and the classical "what a piece of work is man!” (see Tone Drill 1d) have an underlying relationship of feeling.
The Tone Drills develop spontaneity. They enable a student to respond more quickly and more vividly to a given sentiment. In the phrase “O, look at those lovely roses, look at them !” (see Tone Drill 1a) the student finds the thought, the feeling and the phraseology a part of his own vivid expe