Music 1, a new course this year, is a combination of the old 3 and 4, thereby giving, under Professor Davison, a mixture of history and appreciation. It has proved considerably more popular than its projectors had expected, attracting some three hundred men. There are inevitably flaws in a new course, but Music 1 has been improving as it went along, and most of those taking it are decidedly pleased with their investment. There are probably many who thought they smelled a snap, and have since been chagrinned by demands that they learn something. But for every snap-hunter who will shun the course next year, there will surely be at least one man attracted to it by its proven merit. Thus the enrollment might be expected to hold its own, or to show a small, healthy rise. But this is not to be. The new catalogue, when it appears, will announce that the course, with three hundred men this year, is to be limited to 125 next year. That is all that Professor Davison, with the means allowed him, will be able to accommodate. This year the course was planned to operate with only one section man, but when the musical neophytes trooped in by the hundreds, Professor Davison had to beg of the administration another assistant. He was reluctantly granted, with the insistence that he was only there to meet an emergency, and could not possibly be retained next year.
The other major music course, also possessing an appeal for beginners, is Mr. A. T. Merritt's on elementary harmony. A similar forced retrenchment will reduce this course from thirty-five to twenty. Its request for a section man has been likewise refused, a demand justified by the great abundance of rudimentary efforts at harmonizing to be examined every week. The graduate courses must also shrink in number and in volume, because the music department men have extended themselves this year in so impossible a fashion that their labor cannot be sustained.
Perhaps the exclusion of over half of the aspirants to places in the chief music course and of almost half in the next in importance, is no calamity as viewed by the authorities. But the matter is aggravated by another consideration: the restriction of music as a field of concentration. Many of those turned down by Music 1 will be Freshmen with plans, tentative or fixed, of concentrating in the field of music. They will be delayed a year in beginning their primary college work; they will not be allowed to look at their art until they are married to it with slim chances of divorce. This consideration reveals the folly of limiting an elementary course, and of limiting it, at that, at a level far below the present popular demand.
The finest of the fine arts does not deserve being trampled on. A curtailment that hits every one musically inclined, taster, concentrator, and research worker, is a pretty sour note to return to music's melodious overtures to the student body.