By Ginger Statom
Why does music matter? Why do we sing? We are commanded over 200 times by the Word of God to sing, and our voice is the only instrument that is a natural part of our body. That is not to say that learning to play a man-made instrument isn’t equally as valuable, but the human race has been given the amazing gift of singing, which no other species possesses. Our creator has asked us to use this gift (whether we like the sound of our own voice or not) for His glory. If we believe that we are made in the image of God (imago Dei), and that God created everything out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo), then the logical conclusion is that we too should be creating beauty and artistry with the fullest extent of our gifts.
If you’re still reading this, good! Because that was just the philosophy behind why we should be creating music. Now I’m going to let you know the educational and practical benefits of music, and being a choral director, I will specifically address the benefits of singing.
Singing sharpens math skills (particularly fractions and numerical relationships), literacy skills (both language and notation), and spatial reasoning (translating notation into sound/movement in time/space). It makes students more acutely aware of their own bodies as they attempt to correctly and precisely manipulate an instrument that can’t be seen or touched, but must be intuitively listened to and adjusted. It enhances one’s ability to keenly listen to and focus on artistic detail (micro), as well as analyze and blend as part of the larger ensemble (macro). Singing allows us to learn and memorize the most beautiful, moving and powerful words of poets and authors: Dickinson, Yeats, Rilke, Shakespeare, Twain, and myriads of Biblical texts. We learn how to pronounce/speak other languages through it, thus learning about other cultures around the world. We learn history through it (musical context). Singing teaches us to work corporately with others (selflessness), to publicly present one’s self in a dignified manner (etiquette), and to clearly articulate and present learned material to an audience (rhetoric). Singing helps us channel our deepest emotions in a healthy, productive way and ministers to our souls. Martin Luther famously said, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits.” It develops self-discipline, work ethic, responsibility, and gives a great sense of accomplishment when well done, and above all, it creates an appreciation for truth, goodness and beauty.
I am so grateful for the many ways that you, the Westminster staff, students and parents, have shown your support for music over the years. You have given our students and graduates the gift of being able to go out into the world and fully appreciate and recognize beauty, artistry and craftsmanship, and to also recreate it. Thank you.
You can view the full fall concert below: