Their Reward Not Reckoned in Fame or Money--Musical Proficiency Requires Native Talent, Energy, and Courage

The article printed below is the last of a series written at the request of the Crimson and designated as a guide for undergraduates in selecting fields of concentration.

Courses in Music in the University are divided into two classes: those devoted to the constructive or creative, and those which deal with the appreciative or critical, Applied music, that is, singing and playing on instruments, is not offered by the University for academic credit, because this branch, though important in the equipment of a musician, concerns itself largely with physical co-ordination, and does not involve the element of logic which is required by courses in musical theory, as well as by courses in other departments of the University. In one sense every music course is a course in appreciation, because it is of little value to learn the rules and formulae of music unless these details are in some way related to music itself, that is, to the works of the great composers. However, courses such as Music 1, 1a, 2, 2a, and particularly the higher technical courses, are valuable chiefly for those who are going to make music a profession. But it may be said that even in a curriculum now overcrowded with essentials courses like Music 3 and 4 are of the first importance, because music is coming to play such a large part in our lives, whether we will or no, that every man owes it to himself to learn how to listen to music intelligently. That a large part of the American public contents itself with hearing rather than listening to music is evidenced by the melancholy state of American musical taste. Obviously the place to begin the training of a discriminating sense is in the kindergarten, and this training should continue not only through the years of school and college, but during one's entire lifetime. It is only those who have been trained in the appreciation of music who are conscious of the superior satisfaction to be found in intelligent listening. And any one who is ignorant of the great masterpieces of music and of their significance is insofar an uneducated man.

Teaching Not Spectacular

It is undoubtedly true that those who seek to make music a profession are often attracted to the more spectacular occupations, such as those of the composer and the executant; whereas the real need in America today is for conscientious and well-trained teachers of music. No person who desires a life of ease and ample financial reward should view with optimism a musical career. To become proficient in any branch of music requires native talent, energy, and courage. The discouragements are many, but the teacher's reward cannot be reckoned either in terms of fame or of money. The satisfaction which comes with the knowledge that one has supplied to human beings such means of enjoyment as come through an understanding and a love of good music, is in itself an immeasurable reward. Harvard considers the training of teachers so necessary that it offers three halfcourses in the teaching of music in the Graduate School of Education, and students who are intending to follow music teaching as a career should seriously consider taking such work as will prepare them for these courses. We shall never have a musical nation until we have adequate teachers of music; and it is this need that these courses aim to supply.

Activities Are Helpful


While the student is getting his technical or appreciative training, he ought at the same time to devote himself as far as he can to such activities as the Pierian Sodality and the Glee Club, for a real music-lover is one who wishes above all to take part in music. And whether or not that part be great or small, the participant becomes in a sense, through his activity, a creator.

Partly because of the fact that music is not generally offered for entrance credit and partly because the demands of the College with regard to entrance are so extensive, music plays all too small a part in secondary school life. This is particularly unfortunate because the beginning of the appreciation of an art lies in experience, and too many students enter Harvard under the impression that music is something which ought to be relegated to spare moments and ladies' seminaries. Even singing, which is for most nations an entirely spontaneous affair, is but lightly indulged in by Americans, and by students is largely confined to the showers. There can be no question that a more extended and intelligent program of music in secondary schools would result in a more receptive and musically active student body.

Need a General Background

In music as in other subjects there is danger of too great specialization, and for this reason students in music are strongly urged to take courses which will supply them with a suitable background for musical study. Courses in modern languages, in aesthetics, and in comparative literature and particularly desirable.

Once a man has determined on the particular field of music in which he wishes to locate himself, he will find ample opportunity at Harvard for its cultivation; and even if a man aims to be an executant he will find it possible to procure instruction outside college, with sufficient hours for practice while he carries on at the same time his regular college work. In such a case, however, a student would do well to take at least one extra year to complete the work for the A.B. degree.

To sum up: for a student with originality and a gift for composition, there are the courses in harmony, counterpoint, canon, fugue, instrumentation, and composition; for those who wish to supply themselves with a knowledge of music such as will enable them to become appreciative listeners, there are courses in history and appreciation, and halfcourses devoted to special fields and composers; for those who intend to become teachers of music, there are the courses in the teaching of appreciation, in public school music, and in chorus organization and training. It is to be hoped that men will look forward more and more to the work of teaching music in the public schools. Inadequately educated teachers and inferior standards of music have for a long time caused this branch of the profession to be looked upon with suspicion. It is the function of the college to rectify this, and Harvard hopes to offer a real service to the cause of music and education by sending out every year well-trained musicians to this work