Music Lessons are not an Extra

Music Lessons are not an Extra December 10, 2017

C54EA02B-63CB-4208-9E96-5E740F9074E0Music matters. Teach your kids any instrument and have them stick with it to the point where they can play some basic songs. I have known hundreds of gifted and talented college students, and people who play an instrument are always some of the best students. Don’t over expect: you don’t need to raise a Von Trapp to have done some good.

I know from personal experience.

The first concert of The Saint Constantine School had much talent: professionally trained instrumentalists, vocalists with graduate training, and in a change of pace from talent – me.

I was the guy with the tenor recorder playing with actual musicians. My part was mostly one note, but I had to count, was nervous, and it was ok. People were generous, because nobody expected much and so when they got what they expected, it was good. Playing was fun, but the greatest joy has come from playing over the course of my life.

The Rochester school districts when I was a boy gave us free instrumental lessons and so I was able to try tuba (Junior High band!), violin, and piano. My discipline was not what it should have been, my parents (rightly) were not super-strict, but in each case I got far enough to learn and appreciate the instrument. We also had vocal lessons.

God bless Rochester public and private schools. I did not know how blessed I was, because sadly when cuts came, and cuts always come, the arts go first and the administrators last. My life suggests that firing administrators and hiring music teachers would be good for students and education. Music is, after all, for a Christian, an essential: music is the capstone discipline for a human life.

Music incarnates mathematics. Music takes the ideal and transforms  the heavenly language into the earthly. Music stirs our passions, while we use our hands and our minds to produce beauty. Few disciplines bring head, heart, and hands together like music. Is it any wonder we are commanded to worship God with music?

A simple instrument like the recorder endured in my life, because I could take out some music at the Holidays and play. Joy to the world, if not to the house!  When I have been sad, making music that fit my “feels” was helpful. When my (really) a musician wife plays her flute with me, the bond is real. We are making beauty together.

Do all you can to find a school that offers musical lessons. If you are involved in a Christian school, make music a higher priority than any other “extra.” Make it central.  I cannot play soccer anymore (though I loved it!), but the recorder is still with me.

If  you are at a college or university, cut sports before you cut music.

Citizens should demand that the football team at a high school support the band! Vote for the music budget: nothing is better for social, mental, and physical health.

If you are a student, play any instrument, even a simple one like the recorder. When I was a boy, the Sound of Music family, the Von Trapp’s, advocated the recorder and so we learned it in our school. If you cannnot sing, sing. Do the best you can. Find a community or church choir that will you (quietly) do your clumsy thing. Make music.

100 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.


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