The Joy of Learning

The topic that had been given me for my club lesson was music. Now the only instrument I can play is the phonograph and I venture to sing only in a crowd where I can drown my voice in the volume of sound. To be sure I have a little music in my feet, but that would not answer for a club paper, so it seemed rather hopeless, but never yet have I been “stumped.” I began to dig up just plain facts about music and seldom have I found anything so interesting.

The simple fact, of how music came to have written form, takes us away into the days of chivalry, in the 16th Century. To guide the choir boys in following the melody when singing masses, the monks wrote the Latin words, not in a straight line but up and down to indicate their place in the musical scale. Later, to shorten the time and labor of writing, the words were replaced by circles and horizontal lines of the staff were added to more clearly indicate their position. Slowly, from time to time, the different forms of notes were made and music was standardized into the base and treble cleffs, so that our music of today takes its printed form directly from the manuscripts so laboriously written by hand in the monasteries of the 16th Century.

This is only one of many things I learned about music, but I learned also that it isn’t what one already knows that adds interest to the preparation of a club paper so much as the learning something new in order to be able to go on with it.

Learning things is most fascinating and I think it adds joy to life to be continually learning things so that we may be able to go on with it creditably.


“As a Farm Woman Thinks” (29), by Laura Ingalls Wilder, published in The Missouri Ruralist, April 1, 1924



Posted in Quotations from Laura