We had a doh, ray, me scale at home and I can see it hanging on the wall and my father or mother with a ruler giving us singing exercises on it and I feel yet the keen delight of mastering a difficult interval.
Another picture is that of a little class room at school into which we were called one after the other, there to find a black board with a tune written upon it in chalk and the assistant master who was a musical enthusiast — standing beside it with a tuning fork which he struck upon the desk beside him to give us the key note.
The tune was so ridiculously easy that I marvelled at its being an examination test but as I had been only about 10 then, and none of the others much older, the teacher would aim at simplicity; and when he announced that I came first and I had won the prize I questioned myself.
Oh why? Because of the simplicity of it surely; many others had sung it correctly. Then he appeared to answer my unspoken question by saying that many had sung the air correctly —- notes and time — but that this little girl was the only one who had not waited for him to give the starting note but had caught it herself after hearing the Doh of the tuning fork. Thus did we little ones in the fourth quarter of the 19th century learned delightfully and successfully to read music at sight.
The prize I received also belonged to a passing period. It is roped up along with many of my books —- this being the age of homeless people — and I forget the author but its name is: “Noble girls who became illustrious women.” That type of literature for the young was altogether on the wrong lines. But if I ever get at it again I should look through it with a half tender amusement.