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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 17. August 9, 1939

Music Today — Madame Betts-Vincent Lectures

page 3

Music Today

Madame Betts-Vincent Lectures

From one of Madame Betts-Vincent's personality one expects something illuminating, but no one was ready for the catalogue of diversions which did result from the mature "bottling up" of her thoughts about music. Just as dear Mrs. Robinson in the Swiss Family could produce anything from her capacious Back in less than a moment's notice, so Madame could draw upon her memory for anything from a scrap of a comic song to a football match in which a nephew took part. However, we have ceased to expect a strict adherence to subject matter from Phoenix club speakers.

Commencing with a passing mention of the three "B's" the speaker recounted her early musical impressions at Wanganui Girls' College, whence arose the question of musical films and mentioned that a mark of universal good taste was the universal appreciation of pictures with good music (e.g. "Maytime" with Tchaikowsky's "Fifth Symphony.")

Among other things of less note, the influence of America was mentioned. Could anyone on earth enjoy Bing Crosby? It transpired that no-one present had ever encountered such a disagreeable phenomenon, or at least they did not own to their acquaintance. It seems, however, that this controversy is unending.

Madame Betts has no brief for the Crosby, or indeed, for any of his ilk. She rather approves of the dictator who banishes' crooners. A 'Varsity audience naturally did not attempt to justify this bulwark of American heart-throbbism:—

"Your baby has gone down the plughole—
Your baby has gone down the plug.
The poor little mite was so thin and so slight
It should have been washed in a jug


"You can put salt in my coffee
You can put tacks in my shoe
You can put glass in my apple-sauce
But you can't stop me lovin' you."

That would not educate! Noise of this type (one title of which we ourselves are very proud to have heard is. "I call My 'Cutie Treacle 'cos she always sticks around") was deleterious to informed taste.

Madame Betts-Vincent concluded by a statement which she had made several times with an almost vituperative emphasis, "It all boils down to Matric." Education is background, what is left after you have scrapped all that you learnt at school. Music is one of the colours in that background. Then it was obvious that the government's sanity was questionable which budgeted enormous sums to educate teachers to educate the children, and at the same time founded a 2ZB.

Certainly the compulsory system of education is the destruction not only of music but of every cultural development in the child.