01 The Language of Music
A painter hangs his or her finished pictures on a wall, and everyone can see it. A composer writes a work, but no one can hear it until it is performed. Professional singers and players have great responsibilities, for the composer is utterly dependent on them. A student of music needs as long and as arduous a training to become a performer as a medical student needs to become a doctor. Most training is concerned with technique, for musicians have to have the muscular proficiency of an athlete or a ballet dancer. Singers practice breathing every day, as their vocal chords would be inadequate without controlled muscular support. String players practice moving the fingers of the left hand up and down, while drawing the bow to and fro with the right arm—two entirely different movements.
Singers and instruments have to be able to get every note perfectly in tune. Pianists are spared this particular anxiety, for the notes are already there, waiting for them, and it is the piano tuner’s responsibility to tune the instrument for them. But they have their own difficulties; the hammers that hit the string have to be coaxed not to sound like percussion, and each overlapping tone has to sound clear.
This problem of getting clear texture is one that confronts student conductors: they have to learn to know every note of the music and how it should sound, and they have to aim at controlling these sound with fanatical but selfless authority.
Technique is of no use unless it is combined with musical knowledge and understanding. Great artists are those who are so thoroughly at home in the language of music that they can enjoy performing works written in any century.
02 Schooling and Education
It is commonly believed in United States that school is where people go to get an education. Nevertheless, it has been said that today children interrupt their education to go to school. The distinction between schooling and education implied by this remark is important.
Education is much more open-ended and all-inclusive than schooling. Education knows no bounds. It can take place anywhere, whether in the shower or in the job, whether in a kitchen or on a tractor. It includes both the formal learning that takes place in schools and the whole universe of informal learning. The agents of education can range from a revered grandparent to the people debating politics on the radio, from a child to a distinguished scientist. Whereas schooling has a certain predictability, education quite often produces surprises. A chance conversation with a stranger may lead a person to discover how little is known of other religions. People are engaged in education from infancy on. Education, then, is a very broad, inclusive term. It is a lifelong process, a process that starts long before the start of school, and one that should be an integral part of one’s entire life.
Schooling, on the other hand, is a specific, formalized process, whose general pattern varies little from one setting to the next. Throughout a country, children arrive at school at approximately the same time, take assigned seats, are taught by an adult, use similar textbooks, do homework, take exams, and so on. The slices of reality that are to be learned, whether they are the alphabet or an understanding of the working of government, have usually been limited by the boundaries of the subject being taught. For example, high school students know that there not likely to find out in their classes the truth about political problems in their communities or what the newest filmmakers are experimenting with. There are definite conditions surrounding the formalized process of schooling.
03 The Definition of “Price”
Prices determine how resources are to be used. They are also the means by which products and services that are in limited supply are rationed among buyers. The price system of the United States is a complex network composed of the prices of all the products bought and sold in the economy as well as those of a myriad of services, including labor, professional, transportation, and public-utility services. The interrelationships of all these prices make up the “system” of prices. The price of any particular product or service is linked to a broad, complicated system of prices in which everything seems to depend more or less upon everything else.
If one were to ask a group of randomly selected individuals to define “price”, many would reply that price is an amount of money paid by the buyer to the seller of a product or service or, in other words that price is the money values of a product or service as agreed upon in a market transaction. This definition is, of course, valid as far as it goes. For a complete understanding of a price in any particular transaction, much more than the amount of money involved must be known. Both the buyer and the seller should be familiar with not only the money amount, but with the amount and quality of the product or service to be exchanged, the time and place at which the exchange will take place and payment will be made, the form of money to be used, the credit terms and discounts that apply to the transaction, guarantees on the product or service, delivery terms, return privileges, and other factors. In other words, both buyer and seller should be fully aware of all the factors that comprise the total “package” being exchanged for the asked-for amount of money in order that they may evaluate a given price.
The modern age is an age of electricity. People are so used to electric lights, radio, televisions, and telephones that it is hard to imagine what life would be like without them. When there is a power failure, people grope about in flickering candlelight, cars hesitate in the streets because there are no traffic lights to guide them, and food spoils in silent refrigerators.
Yet, people began to understand how electricity works only a little more than two centuries ago. Nature has apparently been experimenting in this field for million of years. Scientists are discovering more and more that the living world may hold many interesting secrets of electricity that could benefit humanity.
All living cell send out tiny pulses of electricity. As the heart beats, it sends out pulses of record; they form an electrocardiogram, which a doctor can study to determine how well the heart is working. The brain, too, sends out brain waves of electricity, which can be recorded in an electroencephalogram. The electric currents generated by most living cells are extremely small – often so small that sensitive instruments are needed to record them. But in some animals, certain muscle cells have become so specialized as electrical generators that they do not work as muscle cells at all. When large numbers of these cell are linked together, the effects can be astonishing.
The electric eel is an amazing storage battery. It can seed a jolt of as much as eight hundred volts of electricity through the water in which it live. ( An electric house current is only one hundred twenty volts.) As many as four-fifths of all the cells in the electric eel’s body are specialized for generating electricity, and the strength of the shock it can deliver corresponds roughly to length of its body.