Make a Joyful Noise
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
There are many reasons why students are taught how to play instruments at school: Playing an instrument helps students develop careful listening skills, teaches them discipline as they set aside time to practice, works on improving students’ memory and helps develop fine motor skills. Many more benefits are listed in this article by the National Association for Musical Education: http://www.nafme.org/20-important-benefits-of-music-in-our-schools/
And while science and research acknowledge the benefits of music in education, the Bible also has much to say about singing and music. In Psalm 150, we read:
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
In a recent morning devotional time, students in Grade 6/7/8 were asked to take out their Bibles and find a passage about singing or music. Students began flipping through their Bibles, some using the concordance at the back, some searching through the book of Psalms. We went around the room, each reading verses that instructed us to “Sing praise to the Lord,” or “Make music to his name.” Students were amazed at how many different passages we found. When we looked it up on BibleGateway.com, we discovered that there were more than 100 passages in the Bible that instructed people to sing and make music to God. Wow!
In the classroom at TCS, where our mission is to build knowledge and faith, we use music to do both of these things. In music class, we develop our skills as we learn new chords and strumming patterns, we reach for the goal of beautiful work as we practice over and over, and we learn about teamwork as we listen to each other, and as we recently had opportunity to play with the Redeemer Christian High School worship team.
Right along side building our knowledge, we build our faith, as students chooseworship songs that are meaningful to them. In the morning, we often gather in a circle around the piano. We all sing, some pick up their ukuleles, we take turns on the shakers and the cajone. We raise our voices together, praising the God who created us, who is our Prince of Peace, who is our Lighthouse, who wants our soul to be on fire for him. These songs become rooted in us, filling us with words of hope and encouragement throughout our day.
As I read through Psalm 150 again, I think of how the instruments listed are different than what we are using now, but the reason we are playing them is the same: Praise the Lord.
“Praise him with the ukulele and guitar,
Praise him with the tambourine and shakers,
Praise him with the cajon and piano,
Praise him with our voices.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”