There’s More to Music than Singing – Lenten Day 7

Posted: February 24, 2015 in Lent, Uncategorized, When Church Hurts
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I teach music.  Sixth grade music.  

Sixth grade is a tough age.  Voices start changing.  The realization that there’s a whole world of music out there beyond folk songs and nursery rhymes and ‘Jesus Loves Me, this I know.”

Some kids this age love to sing.  Most hate it.

So, in my class, no one sings.  If they want to sing, they can join the choir.

In my class, we learn all kinds of great stuff about music.  We learn about tempo, dynamics, pitch, timbre, rhythm, texture and form.  We learn about keys and modes and time signatures.  We learn how those things work together to make music sound adventurous or creepy, sad or romantic, funny or foreboding.  We learn how chords work and how to count.  

And when it’s all said and done, each and every student completes a project in which they put video clips (that I provide) together, write a story, and create a sound track to accompany it.  

When it’s all said and done, they know more about music than I knew before I started studying it in college.

I have colleagues who think I’m not doing this music gig the way I should.  They think I should force every last one of my 325+ music students to sing.  Children’s songs.  My colleagues think that it’s okay if most 11 and 12-year-olds, who love music – have always loved music – begin to hate music class.  

Because that’s how it’s supposed to be done.  And if we don’t force them to sing, we may not have many singers in our choirs in 7th grade or high school.  Because we’re really about raising up performers rather than music lovers.


Because it makes a whole lot more sense to teach people how to create the thing that they love in a way that engages and excites them rather than force them to perform something they hate.

Today, why don’t you let go of whatever it might be that forces you to perform something you hate and get back to learning to create something you love.  


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