The Young Minister and Music

Why should a theological student spend very much time on music?

By H. A. MILLER, Professor of Music, Union College, Nebraska

The question naturally arises in your mind. Why should a theological student spend very much time on music? The first personal con­tact which the evangelist and the intern have with their audience is made through music. If this initial part of the service is below par, though the equipment of the tent or hall is care­fully thought out and provided, the impression is left with the people that the meeting will be cheap, just a "one-horse" affair.

How is the young man going to assist the evangelist if his knowledge of music is nil ? And what frequently makes it still worse is that now when the first public opportunity for serv­ice arrives, his young wife sits with folded hands and a big wish in her heart that she had found time to study music along with other things which were pleasant enough to know, but which are of little or no practical value Dow.

It is not considered ethical in educational cir­cles to trump the praises of one's department, because that would be thought an endeavor to herd the students into certain departments. But just what would you label no effort to warn students of their impending predicament if they fail to secure certain training that is badly needed for their future work?

See how many minor in history, and pride themselves when their majors and minors are called out. (But is it not too bad the juniors cannot watch these history minors when they go out to their first real conference task—to lead the music?) Watch them tackle their initial problem. Oh, how they wish they had taken a little more music. It should not be less history, but more music. However, there should be less history if there is not time enough for both.

On a recent Senior Recognition Day I lis­tened to the minors which the theological students had chosen, and history was found in nearly every case. I had most of these religion majors in a required two-hour music course, and knew many were in a sad plight because of insufficient musical background.

A teacher cannot "pour" music in through the lecture-method funnel. You must not only know ; you must do. It takes time to acquire a working knowledge of music. You cannot wait until the second semester of your senior year and then grab a handful on the run.

Go to some able evangelist with an under­standing of music, and ask him what he would advise concerning this music situation and you.

Get some first-hand information from a success­ful preacher. But do not wait until you are nearly through school before you do it. Lay your plans for a purposeful study course early —preferably before entering college.

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By H. A. MILLER, Professor of Music, Union College, Nebraska

May 1944

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