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The growth of interest in music all over the country has had its effect on the Harvard Music Department. Much of the new excitement in this field is due to the gigantic efforts of Professors Davison and Merritt, who have attracted a great number of musicians as well as spread their disciples east and west. Because of its success and outstanding popularity, the Music Department should be encouraged to grow into a position alongside other big departments.
University authorities, however, continue to apply their policy of restricting the funds allotted to the department. And it is thoroughly disheartening to see that Music 1, the course of fundamental importance, should so face the apparent opposition of the University. The importance of this course cannot be overestimated, both from the point of view of potential concentrators, who must have it for any advanced work, and men primarily interested in other fields, who need it as part of their liberal education.
For these two groups there is no other course that will take the place of Music 1. And yet the University turns a deaf car to requests for better equipment and more section men. Last year Dr. Davison was informed that since the University could not afford such expenses, Music 1 would have to be limited to 125 students. This decision which would have checked the progress of the whole department and turned away distributors and concentrators alike, was too preposterous to be followed. So two hundred students are allowed to enroll this year, while about a hundred are forced to pursue studies in which they are less interested, Would-be concentrators are thus thrown into other fields.
Because of the lack of funds set aside for the Music Department, Music 1 found itself without adequate lecture equipment. The catastrophe was averted by donations amounting to $3,100, five-sixths of which was generously given by Mrs. E. S. Coolidge. It was hoped by the Music Department that gifts would lead the University to supply a few needed section men. Such hopes were vain.
The state of affairs in Music 1, which is the basis of all musical study at Harvard, is an incredible as it is true. Since most departments depend on large elementary courses for their greatest earning power, it follows that to cut down on Music 1 is to impoverish the whole field. This, in effect, is the University's policy, which extends an evil instead of eradicating it. With a few years of support and expansion, there is every reason to believe that Music like any other field could of its own accord blossom forth and bear fruit.
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