One of the required courses for music majors is a year-long survey of the history of Western music. During the first week of class, I wrote: “I want to compose, and there's a better chance I'll write meaningful music if I know more about what music has been, to whom, and how.” The logic remains, but lately I've stopped caring. Through no fault of the instructor, who is witty and well spoken, the music history course is by far my least favorite of the semester, and likely my least favorite thus far at Columbia.

Honors Math required significantly more work, but it resulted in my being able to solve new kinds of problems. Masterpieces of Western Art required nearly as much memorization, but it resulted in my being able to speak intelligently about art. Music history — at least the way it's taught here — is merely a gigantic amount of terminology, a great deal of which consists of near-synonyms whose differences are of highly questionable significance to the musician of today. I think I'm misleading myself when I categorize it as a music course, and logic bears me out: Music is something I like and do well; I'm not liking or doing well at this; therefore, this must not be music. Right?

Doesn't much matter what I think about it. There's a paper about opera due tomorrow, a test on Monday, a final exam in a month, and next semester I get to do it all over again. By then we'll have entered the Classical period and caring might be possible. We'll see.