Dr. Harry Price, Professor of Music History and Music Appreciation at Kennesaw State, continues to inspire students and himself with an ongoing desire to both teach and learn.
“If everyone came here wanting to learn, we’d be miles ahead,” Price said.
Price has taught the music appreciation course at KSU for just over a decade and defines music appreciation as educating students to better understand music.
His goal is to move students forward and reminds them to be honest about their goals when discouraged. Price said that any skill can be learned with the motivation to succeed.
This principle of self-contemplation inspires Price to incorporate a lax attendance policy based on mutual respect between student and professor. He only wants students to be present if they value his teachings.
“Some may like it, some may not, but when they’re done [with the course] they’ll know more,” Price said. “One thing that they say is, ‘I learned a lot.’ That’s about the best thing I can hear.”
Price’s passion for music was ignited in middle school when his school’s band director, a graduate of Eastman School of Music himself, inspired his creative direction. After two years of playing trombone, Price was accepted into the nationally recognized music institute Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan.
In his junior year of high school, Price discovered his passion to teach.
“Teaching and practicing always interested me more than playing,” Price said. “For me it was the quest of ‘How can I figure this out? How am I going to play that? What’s it going to take to do this right?’ [that] was more of an interest than getting on stage and performing.”
As he only teaches three sections of music appreciation, few students would recognize Price outside of class as their professor. They may, however, see him riding around on his Triumph Motorcycle.
“It’s good mental health,” Price said. “It helps me focus by focusing on nothing important at all but staying alive.”
Price’s trips, which range from 15 minutes to 15 days, broaden his experiences and appreciation of differences. They help him stay in the moment while exploring places a car cannot go.
During his childhood, Price was encouraged by his father to pursue music education. He told Price to worry about a career that made him happy instead of chasing a paycheck.
After obtaining a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Florida State and a doctorate from Syracuse University, he began teaching at Virginia Tech in 1981 as a marching band director. Since then, he has taught in various formats while researching perception of music, conducting methods, and teaching students music.
In 2018, Price received the National Association for Music Education’s Senior Researcher Award. He is also published in scholarly articles such as the International Journal of Music Education.