teaching tips blog


Dec 17, 2012

Music Matters

Becky Cooke

   Music is considered by many to be the universal language. This time of the year that is most evident. Familiar Christmas songs, secular and sacred, are playing everywhere you go. If you are like me, you are quickly drawn into a song, especially one that is meaningful or catchy. When I think of music, I think of heaven – angels saying (in song?), “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts” around God’s throne (Isaiah 6:3); and the angels who announced Christ’s birth with “glory to God in the highest…” (Luke 2:14). Won’t it be wonderful to some day be a part of that heavenly chorus?

   Music evokes emotion. Somehow it touches the deepest parts of our being. The messages conveyed are caught and remembered easier than if the words are spoken without the tune and rhythm. That reminds me that my daughter learned and retained information more quickly when I set concepts to music.

   So what does this have to do with high school? Since most high school plans suggest 1-2 credits of fine arts, including music in your program will help to satisfy these credits. But my teen doesn’t play an instrument, can’t sing, and doesn’t like music,” you say. Really? Maybe he or she doesn’t think so, but when it’s presented in relevant ways, the imagination may take over. We have a number of fine courses to consider in the curriculum section of HSLDA’s high school website.

   Because I love music, I wanted my children to enjoy it as well. If for nothing else, I wanted them to appreciate good music and to do so, they needed to understand it. In addition to taking music lessons, we studied the different periods of music, learning how it developed from the early Gregorian Chants to the modern day and listening to examples of each era. We also learned about the origins of the various hymns we sing in church. Then I taught them how to sing the parts of music so they could enjoy participating in youth choirs. Some of these skills were taught academically while others were caught through fun activities.

   You’ve probably heard the axiom, “the family that prays together stays together.” This season why not change it to “a family that sings together rejoices together!” (Yes, I know – it doesn’t rhyme. Any poets out there that can help me say it better?)

   What ideas do you use to incorporate fine arts into your homeschool? I’m always looking for new suggestions to pass along when I talk to parents.

Merry Christmas,