Ms 181, 1901

Ms 181, 1901

The Need and Importance of Voice Culture. Part One.


[Typed] Jan. 16, 1901

Previously unpublished.

In all our schools, great attention should be paid to voice-culture. Let reading classes be formed, in which each student shall be given a thorough drill in pronunciation and emphasis. This is necessary in order for the students to be successful in the future in communicating that which they have learned. The student who leaves school unable to read and speak correctly is not prepared for a position in the service of God. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 1

Good readers are rare. Students should be taught to speak and read in an acceptable, impressive manner, pronouncing their words clearly and distinctly, and giving proper emphasis and expression to the thoughts. They should be taught how to control and modulate the voice, letting it rise and fall at the proper times. No tame, expressionless reading should be permitted. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 2

Vocal culture should be made one of the most important branches of education in our schools. In order for this to be, the teachers must themselves understand the art of speaking and reading. those who help to prepare students to act a part in God's great work should be men and women who understand and appreciate the value of voice culture, who have studied this themselves and know how to instruct others. If teachers are defective in this respect, their work is of little value compared with what it would be if they knew how to speak and read. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 3

Let this matter be no longer neglected by the teachers in our schools. Let them teach the students how to read in clear, full tones and how to give the proper emphasis and expression to the thoughts. And let the students themselves strive perseveringly to become good readers. In every part of a student's life, vocal culture is of the greatest importance. The intellect is of double value when there is joined with it the power to use the voice as it should be used. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 4

We may have knowledge, but unless we know how to use the voice correctly, our work will be a failure. Unless we can clothe our ideas in appropriate language, of what avail is our education? All the knowledge we may gain will be of little advantage to us unless we cultivate aright the talent of speech that the doors of the lips may open to allow ideas to go forth to bless others. Knowledge is a wonderful power for good when combined with the ability to speak them in a way that will command attention. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 5

We are bound by holy motives to do all that is in our power to meet the necessities for this time. Let us cultivate the talent of speech so that it will be a power in winning souls to Christ. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 6

Students who expect to become workers in the cause of God should be trained to speak in a clear, straightforward manner, else they will be shorn of half their influence for good. The ability to speak plainly and clearly in full, round tones is invaluable in any line of work. This qualification is indispensable in those who desire to become ministers, evangelists, Bible workers, or canvassers. Those who are planning to enter these lines of work should be taught to use the voice in such a way that when they speak to people about the truth, a decided impression for good will be made. The truth must not be marred by being communicated through defective utterances. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 7

The canvasser who can speak clearly and distinctly about the merits of the book he wishes to sell will find that this is a great help to him in selling the book. He may have an opportunity to read a chapter of the book, and by the music of his voice and the emphasis placed on the thoughts he can make the scene presented stand out as clearly before the mind of the listener as if it could in reality be seen. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 8

The one who gives Bible readings, in the congregation or in family, should be able to read with a soft, musical cadence that will charm the hearers. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 9

Ministers of the gospel should know how to speak with power and expression, making the words of eternal life so impressive that the hearers cannot but feel their weight. I am pained as I hear the defective voices of many of our ministers. Such ministers rob God of the glory he would have if they had trained themselves to speak the word with power. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 10

To be able to speak correctly is the life and health of a speaker. In speaking, the strain of the work should not be put upon the throat and lungs. The abdominal muscles are to do the heaviest share of the labor, the throat being used as the channel. Many have died who might have lived had they in the school room been taught that the voice is a precious talent, and must be used with the greatest care. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 11

No man should consider himself qualified to enter the ministry until by persevering effort he has overcome every defect in his utterance. If he attempts to speak to the people without knowing how to use the talent of speech, half his influence is lost; for he has little power to hold the attention of a congregation. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 12

Those who are engaged in mechanical lines of work will find it greatly to their advantage to cultivate the talent of speech. Thus they can make a success of their work when did they neglect to speak correctly, they would make a failure. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 13

Those who are planning to engage in business lines need to learn how to control the voice, so that when they go forth into their work, they will not, if something goes wrong, speak in tones that will stir up the worst passions of the heart. Too often the speaker and the one spoken to speak sharply and harshly. Sharp, dictatorial words, uttered in hard, rasping tones, have separated friends and resulted in loss of souls. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 14

Instruction in vocal culture should be given in the home circle. Parents should teach their children to speak so plainly that those who are listening can understand every word that is said. They should teach them to read the Bible with clear, distinct utterance, in a way that will honor God. And let not those who kneel around the family altar put their faces in their hands close down to the chairs when they address God. Let them lift up their heads, and with holy awe speak to their heavenly Father, uttering their words in tones that can be heard. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 15

Parents, train yourselves to speak in a way that will be a blessing to your children. Women need to be educated in this respect. There are many busy mothers who have never had time to go back and pick up the dropped stitches; but even these, if they will, can cultivate the talent of speech, and can teach their children to speak and read correctly. They can do this while they are about their work. Let working men and working women remember that it is never too late for them to improve. God calls upon parents to bring all the perfection possible into the home circle. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 16

In the social meeting there is special need of clear, distinct utterance, that all may hear the testimonies borne, and be benefitted by them. Difficulties are removed and help is given as God's people relate their experience in social meeting. But too often the testimonies are borne with faulty, indistinct utterance; and it is impossible to gain a correct idea of what is said. The blessing is lost through a failure to use rightly the talent of speech. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 17

We have given altogether too little attention to this subject. Let those who speak and those who pray pronounce their words in clear, distinct, even tones. Prayer, if properly offered, is a power for good. It is one of the means used by the Lord to communicate to the people the precious treasures of truth. But prayer is not what it should be, because of the defective voices of those who utter it. Satan rejoices when the prayers offered to God are almost inaudible. Let God's people learn how to speak and pray in a way that will properly represent the great truths they possess. Let the testimonies borne and the prayers offered be clear and distinct. Then the social meeting will be a place where God will be glorified. 16LtMs, Ms 181, 1901, par. 18