Music in Classical Education 

The Biblical Significance of Music

Music in Classical Education

The Biblical Significance of Music

Written by Emma Foss | 2.13.20

Note to the reader: My goal over these next few weeks is to explain the importance of a musical foundation for young ones from the worldview of a Classical Christian Educator.

One must first and foremost understand the biblical significance of a subject before attempting to understand it from a classical or educational approach. Hence, in this first post, I will begin with a reflection on music from a biblical perspective. What does the Bible say about music? Why is music important in God’s eyes? What does God expect of His children in the realm of music-making? My hope is to use Scripture and biblical reasoning to answer these questions clearly.

“The goal of Christian education should be to enable students both to choose excellent music and recognize their Christian task regarding its uses.”

Zachary J. Vreeman, “Model for Teaching Musical Discernment in the Christian Secondary School,” 2008.

“The goal of Christian education should be to enable students both to choose excellent music and recognize their Christian task regarding its uses.”

Zachary J. Vreeman, “Model for Teaching Musical Discernment in the Christian Secondary School,” 2008.

Many people argue that music is not for everyone. Some say it is a special gift only a few fortunate souls are born with. Music classes, while a nice addition, are not necessary for education. Because of these tainted views, music education programs are finding themselves more limited in resources, opportunities, and support. Yet, in the words of Zachary Vreeman, “The goal of Christian education should be to enable students both to choose excellent music and recognize their Christian task regarding its uses.” This begs an important question: How should a Christian view the value of music in education?

A child of God should be an advocate for music education because of the God-given purpose of music and its original intent laid out in Scripture. God designed music for a particular purpose and has disclosed His purposes to us in Scripture, both in the Old and New Testaments. Moses’ song in Exodus 15:1-2 says, “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD… I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously… The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation.” The purpose of his song—to worship God—is evident. Nehemiah 12:46 states of this song, “There were leaders of the singers, and there were songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.” And the entire book of Psalms was songs written from hearts of worship that poured out emotions before God and praised Him for who He is.

Music was created and designed by our loving God as a language to communicate with God and express our heartfelt emotions and praises to Him

G.W. Killian Jr. “Integration of Faith and Learning in Music”

Music was created and designed by our loving God as a language to communicate with God and express our heartfelt emotions and praises to Him

G.W. Killian Jr. “Integration of Faith and Learning in Music”

Another example of the use of music in Scripture is 1 Samuel 16:23, which says, “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” This example shows that music is also used for edification. In Luke 1:46-55, Mary rejoices over the angel’s good news that she would carry the Messiah in her womb. She begins her song with the words, “My soul glorifies the Lord.” When Paul and Silas were locked away in prison, they sang songs of praise to their heavenly Father (Acts 16:25.) One day in heaven, we will be singing praises continually to the King of kings like the angels do! Music was created and designed by our loving God as a language to communicate with God and express our heartfelt emotions and praises to Him (G.W. Killian Jr. “Integration of Faith and Learning in Music”).

Musical expression not only provides that opportunity for communication with God, but it also offers the chance to communicate with people around us. “The status of music as a universal language offers an outstanding vehicle for the communication of any message, and more particularly, for the message of the eternal Gospel” (Kenneth Gangel, “Teaching Through Music,” 2005). The Bible is clear about what God intended music to be used for: worship and edification.

Music is ultimately from God, and when we sing or play our music for His glory, we are offering our gifts and talents as a dedication and offering to Him.

Music is ultimately from God, and when we sing or play our music for His glory, we are offering our gifts and talents as a dedication and offering to Him.

Our God is the ultimate Creator. Because He has created us in His image, we too have been given the ability to create. “All beauty is from God; no matter where it is found, the artistic creativity of people is God’s good gift” (Arthur F. Holmes, The Idea of a Christian College, 1987).

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” The Greek word for “masterpiece” here is poiema, which refers to a work of art. Music is ultimately from God, and when we sing or play our music for His glory, we are extending our gifts and talents as a dedication and offering to Him. Music is more than a study. It is the stewardship of a God-given skill and a means of giving back to He who has blessed us in many ways.

What an incredible privilege God has given us through the gift of music!

What an incredible privilege God has given us through the gift of music!

One of my favorite books of the New Testament is Colossians. The first chapter expresses the supremacy of Christ, and why we are to worship Him, the firstborn of Creation, the image of the invisible God. Just two chapters later come these verses addressed to children of God: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (3:16-17).

Did you catch the two biblical reasons for the importance of music? Teach (to impart knowledge of or skill) and admonish (to urge, remind, or advise) one another through song. And, of course, give thanks to God and do everything in Jesus’ name for the glory of God alone! What an incredible privilege God has given us through the gift of music, and yet with this privilege, like any other, comes the responsibility to understand its proper use from a biblical worldview: worship and edification. Next week, we will take a look at the undeniable benefits of music toward a person’s growth and development.

Emma Foss graduated in 2019 from Bob Jones University with a B.S. in Music Education. Alongside CDA, she teaches music classes at The Music Playhouse, as well as private piano lessons. Her musical knowledge spans piano, violin, guitar, ukulele, recorder, voice, percussion, flute, trumpet, and cello. Mrs. Foss believes music is an essential and beneficial part of children’s education. She and her husband Andrew attend Noblesville Baptist Church.

 

Emma Foss graduated in 2019 from Bob Jones University with a B.S. in Music Education. Alongside CDA, she teaches music classes at The Music Playhouse, as well as private piano lessons. Her musical knowledge spans piano, violin, guitar, ukulele, recorder, voice, percussion, flute, trumpet, and cello. Mrs. Foss believes music is an essential and beneficial part of children’s education. She and her husband Andrew attend Noblesville Baptist Church.

 

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