All students in PreK through 12th grade study music at Providence, and we don’t make any apologies for doing so. Instead, we view instruction in music as essential, a high priority. Why?
First, we could never in good conscience call ourselves an institution of education if we didn’t provide instruction in music. In fact, Plato wrote, “The whole choral art [i.e., music] is also in our view the whole of education; and of this art, rhythms and harmonies form the part which has to do with the voice.” The only lengthy book on the seven liberal arts that Augustine finished was his book on music. As a classical school, Providence is the inheritor of a long tradition that embraces the duty of music literacy as not only basic to a liberal arts education but also fundamental to human learning and flourishing. And furthermore, Christian schools through the ages have recognized the inherent value of music as a gift of God and the crucial need for Christians to know and love music that reflects truth, goodness, and beauty.
Second, we are obeying the Lord God by singing, playing instruments, and growing in musical skill. The Bible calls on us to sing and play and let music fill our hearts. “Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.” (Ps 96:1-2). “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High” (Ps 92:1). “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Eph 5:18-19). “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” (Col 3:16). Learning to sing and play music is a matter of obedience to God.
Third, we are re-habituating students to think about and experience music differently. Our culture forms us to experience music as a mere matter of preference and a highly individualized experience. However, the Bible teaches us to experience music as the worship of the church, corporately offered as praise to the Triune God in response to His grace. Further, we want to train students to know that Bach is better than the BeeGees and that the Hallelujah Chorus is better than MC Hammer. By exposing students to excellent and important music, we are (Lord Willing) helping to form their aesthetic vision, and this is a worthy goal.
Finally, while the Scriptures do not reveal everything we might want to know about the new heavens and the new earth (will our pets return to us?), one thing that we can be very clear about is that there will be worship in heaven – which means that there will be singing. We will enjoy creating and offering beautiful music to the Lord for eternity. One good reason for learning to sing now is so that you will be ready to sing in heaven – and so that you will be ready to enjoy it. I hope I will enjoy singing in heaven because I’m pretty sure that I’ll be doing a lot of it for a long time!
Revelation 5 gives us a glimpse of heaven, where there is a “new song” being sung even now:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!” (5:12).
The Christmas Concert, and indeed, every time we and our children gather to sing His praises, is a little foretaste of our glorious future with our Savior, Christ Jesus.
May His praises sound forth!