What a pity there are now no such band competitions in the country. We do have, however, the annual band contests for school bands - first the State, then by the winners of these, the National Contest. These affairs, part of the splendid movement of instrumental music in the schools, instill ambition into the student. This is true of all contests; the trying out of the competency of the different bands creates more ambition for all who take up wind instruments for a pastime, there being something to work for more than a weekly concert paid for by subscriptions. That is why I say it is a pity that band competitions in the general field are no more, at least in America.
Being away from my parents was causing me many an hour of loneliness, and I began to wish for all the comforts of home and a motherly caress. My father and mother were writing encouragingly of what my prospects might be if I should come to Rochester, N.Y. (where they were living) and take up some sensible occupation. They were still against my following music as a profession. Of course, I had tried business once before and had made a failure of it for the reason that I, myself, was not interested: Now that I was improving in my music I had hoped that they might be satisfied with my success. But mother wanted me home, I imagine, and, secretly, I wanted her. However, I contented myself with my daily practice and began to study music properly from a theoretical standpoint - so as to be a good musician as well as a good player.
Every person who plays a musical instrument for professional remuneration should understand first of all the rudiments of music, then study Harmony, Composition, and Instrumentation, so as to be able to arrange music for both band and orchestra besides composing now and then. These things all help in the end to the making of a fair living in case something should happen that would make it impossible for one to play. The study of music is interesting if started property; even an hour a day will work wonders and possibly provide protection for one's old age.