everyday homeschooling blog


Oct 5, 2012

Teach Me To Listen, Part II

MaryAnn Gaver

Hi everyone!

 It's a brilliant autumn morning, and I've already got the coffee brewing, the screen door opened for some crisp air, and the dog fed. Jay's working at home today, so we'll have a light breakfast together..... a big change from the hectic mornings, say ten years ago, when I would juggle two skillets of French toast while I thought of chores to coordinate and lessons to teach. Mmm... I can still smell the cinnamon and maple; I can still hear two little boys bounding down the steps, bright-eyed and hungry. 

     I change my mind about having a light meal. "Jay, how would you like a warm breakfast of French toast today?"  "Great." ....

     I'm doing my Bible reading in Nehemiah about the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem. A great portion of Scripture. I love this verse in the fourth chapter:

"At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us."   - Nehemiah 4:20

     This is is one magnificent verse! To think that God was fighting for them! We'll need our pastors or John MacArthur to fully explain and do justice to this passage, but I would like to point out one thing. 

      I don't want to take away from the wonderful story of Nehemiah's leadership and work....his prayer and petitions, his confessions and commissioning. But something that I find interesting is how the trumpet was appropriately chosen as the rallying instrument to sound the alarm for the builders. To make a battle cry and unite the forces -- well, that's definitely a job for a trumpeter! They surely didn't think of using a harp for the task! Conversely, King David didn't use a timbrel or trumpet out in the pastures with his precious sheep. Only the soothing stroke of a harp would do. 

     My point is to highlight the beauty of musical instruments, and the blessings that they bring us. Then, I'd like to encourage you to provide opportunities where your children can listen to different instruments, hearing the tone and unique qualities of each. Then, try to hear several musical instruments played together.

  The best case scenario would be to hear a performance of real, live people playing real instruments. And -- just think. No screens! How splendid; we'll have to use our ears!

      Several years ago at our Metro in Washington, D.C., the world-renown violinist, Joshua Bell donned a National's baseball cap, and played his violin (I'm sure it wasn't his Stradivarius) during the busy rush hour as people walked past. I guess it was an experiment.  Would people stop & hear?  Did they think he was a street person out for a few tips?  Would they only "tune in" if they paid  $50 for a seat at Strathmore?  It was unbelievable -- people just walked right past him!  I often think, "Would I have been so absorbed in my own little world that I would have missed such beauty?" 

      I like to think of lovely adjectives (or nouns) to describe some of the sounds of particular instruments, such as the joyful sound of the flute, or the deep, rich tones of the cello. Ohh...the romance of the violin, the cleanness of the clarinet. The mysteriousness of the bassoon or the clarity of the the French horn (which isn't French, and isn't a horn, by the way!)...      

     Whether it's the viola's ability to provide special effects for the orchestra, or the guitar's ability to relax an audience -- once again, I encourage you to study and experience the beauty of various  instruments this fall. 

      Oh -- just one more thing. Imagine how our children's vocabulary will grow as they learn about the guitar adagio, piccolo concerto, and clarinet quintet!

     Have fun, and enjoy a musical day!