Tempera-Mental

four temperaments, melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic, cholericSuggestions were presented for the treatment of temperaments from the musical perspective and by relating them to Bible history.

Phlegmatics: Harmonium and piano; Harmony; Choral singing; The Gospel of Matthew; (variety)

Sanguines: Wind instruments; Melody; Whole orchestra; The Gospel of Luke; (Inwardness of soul)

Cholerics: Percussion and drum; Rhythm; Solo instruments; The Gospel of St. Mark; (Force, strength)

Melancholics: Stringed Instruments; Counterpoint; Solo singing; The Gospel of St. John; (Deepening of the spirit)*

One of my first experiences at a Waldorf event was the Spring Concert. It was cute, though many of the students looked bored out of their wits. There were lots of recorder-players. A parent, a sanguine, I suppose, was helping out on a different wind instrument.

“It’s so great that they all have to play,” another parent told us, when the concert was finished.

Everybody has been nice to me. I have also been nice to everyone. It’s called professionalism, where I come from. In fact, there are two parents at the school who have been work colleagues. Though there are quite a few Waldorf institutions in this region, circles in these parts are quite small. This is the main reason I write under a pen name. The other is for protection of my partner’s children. I do not trust the anthroposophy environment any further than I can throw it.

Having been a young musician myself, beginning 13 years of piano at age 3, I found the idea of forced musicianship off-putting, though naturally I did not say so to the impressed parent.

I also sensed that there seemed to be little actual musicianship going on. Until I read through teacher training materials, I could not place my finger on why.

“What do we see in these figures?” asks Herr Steiner, regarding the image above.

They depict another characterization of the four temperaments. The melancholic children are as a rule tall and slender; the sanguine are the most normal; those with more protruding shoulders are the phlegmatic children; and those with a short stout build so that the head almost sinks down into the body are choleric.

p. 34

What happens to children who are of the not-normal body types who also do not want to play a wind instrument?

Anybody got a Venn diagram for that?

I do.

*From Discussions With Teachers, 1919, p. 29. This is part of 3rd year teacher training materials according to the BACWTT website.

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