The Etude magazine, April 1910, p. 287
DON'T VEGETATE! BY CHARLES E. WATT.
BE somebody! go somewhere! do something! don't vegetate! Too many people are like turnips, with roots comfortably fixed in the ground and drawing sustenance from all around them, and, like the turnip, growing more hopelessly commonplace every day. The world is full of adventure and poetry; venture forth and find it.
Both mind and body need a frequent change of diet, and to find these you should read and travel.
If you cannot go far nor often, still make the small excursions and the constant change which perpetually enliven the body and the mind, and just as continuously read books, hear plays, sermons and lectures.
Don't, just because you are a musician, imagine that you need no other sense besides the musical one, but rest assured that every particle of brain development, however gained, will help you in your special work.
But not only does it seem necessary to urge musicians to seek the adventure and the poetry in traveling and in reading, but also, strange as it may appear, it is not at all amiss to urge a continual widening of the music horizon itself, for there are far too many musicians, especially young ones, who, turnip-like, are content with one environment and one diet, and who rarely seek variety and breadth of musical thought.
The music literature of the world is practically limitless. All the thought and fancy of the ages has been put into music scores which need but the touch of the reproducer to waken them to new life and accustomed beauty.
You should not be satisfied with your present repertoire, nor with the technical limitations which hold you to it, but should have an ambition to widen your scope until it comprises as much of the stored music-wealth of the world as one life can possibly compass.
Neither should you be satisfied with your own music readings and your own ideas, but remembering that each new interpretation of any work, however old, may have an entirely new inspiration for you, and keeping yourself childishly teachable, you should hear continually all the music you possibly can, and never shut yourself up to your own thought exclusively.
Students often go to the large music centers for study, and leave them after a year or two with but little addition to their real musical development. When this is the case the reason may almost invariably be found in the fact that such students have not fully availed themselves of the privileges at hand.