Nobody is born a musician! Probably you too have heard people say “I was not born a musician” or “My parents are not musicians, so how can I expect to have musical talent?” Somehow such speakers feel deprived of this precious gift. But it is a mistake to think that only certain children are born with the talent to play an instrument or sing well. It is true that each one of us possesses enough mental capacity to develop musical ability in our lives.
Musical ability, it has been said, is one of the greatest gifts given by God to men. With it, we can praise and adore Him. The Lord has given some musical talent to every human being, no matter where he or she was born, or whether the parents were musicians or not.
For a long time scientists have tried to find out how is it that a person develops musical talent. Is it inherited through the genes? In a recent research made by the Universities of Helsinki and Ohio, (the following makes no sense to me at all) it was curiously discovered that genes are not related with the ear at all, the capacity to recognize or play musical notes without any reference.
Benefits of music in child development
How do we become musicians?
Pregnant women are advised to listen to soft, gentle music several times a week. This will have a great result. Even in the uterus, the baby will listen to melodious and warm sounds, and his body will respond. At first, the brain will barely understand the sounds, but later the effect will be very good.
After birth, it is vital that children listen to music so they can distinguish different melodies. It is stimulating for children to repeat and sing phrases and short verses. Doing so will help children relate to music and maybe even become excellent musicians for God.
An integral education
Some think that music is only an entertainment or something to practice in your free time. But music is much more than that. For centuries, music has been an efficient educational tool.
Musical education is one of the most effective tools to cultivate in children a well-balanced character, because music “raises the thoughts to what is pure, noble, and exalting.” The discipline and order allows children to develop self confidence in what they are doing. The study of music encourages children to listen for a daily improvement as they practice; and the music together with history (I don’t know what this means) will create in them integrity and maturity of thoughts. Also the music will inspire perseverance and patience. Each time children make a mistake singing or playing a note, they will make efforts to do better the next time. In this way their concentration and memory will improve as the most important regions of the brain are stimulated.
It is well known that some musicians have a very high IQ. Albert Einstein, for example, started violin lessons when he was only six years old. One time he said, “If I were not a scientist I would have dedicated my whole life to music.” It is not surprising that Einstein had a good technique with the instrument and that he even composed some pieces of music.
On the other hand, music also helps autistic children by allowing them to talk more easily, without retracting words or hiding their feelings. Music will help them make new friends. Repeating words through singing will improve pronunciation and vocalization so autistic children will be able to express themselves better in public, without having to feel embarrassed.
Follow the Biblical example
It is of vital importance to learn hymns from our International Hymnal. I remember how my mother made my brothers and me sing during both morning and evening worship. She made us learn a new hymn every day! We did not sing perfectly, but I will never forget the lyrics of the hymns that we sang with her. Even now, in every difficulty, recalling words from hymns that I sang as a child fills me with great hope and joy. Thinking of those words brings me closer to Jesus and strengthens my determination to remain submitted to Him forever.
In the old Israel Jehovah gave His people special advice about the ten commandments. God said to “learn them, and keep, and do them” (Deuteronomy 5:1). “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).
Parents in Israel ensured that their children would learn the commandments that God had given to His people, as well as all the rest of the Scriptures. Often a melody was created to emphasize a special thought. In the book of Psalms we find the great deeds of Israel, their victories, their weaknesses, their defeats, all of them written as poetry so anyone could sing them. Also in the schools of the prophets, music played a fundamental role in the worship and praise of Jehovah—for the youngest to the oldest students.
“Music is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth.” Sacred praise cheers up the spirit. Singing is the most effective way to recall words and phrases in the mind of the human being.
Parents, teachers, and leaders, make the opportunity now, today, to cultivate the love of sacred music in the children for whom you are responsible. Father, mother, if your children do not play any instrument or have not yet learned to sing well, get started today to train them to include music in their future lives. Educate your children in the fear of Jehovah. Let music help them develop that respect and love for the Creator.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). God desires to see all the parents who belong to the International Missionary Society of the Seventh day Adventist Church Reform Movement ensuring that their children are well educated. And that includes learning to cultivate the appreciation of music.
The Lord bless you, is my sincere desire always. Amen.
By Santiago Caleb Falcón Apunte
Ecuadorian Field Music Leader, Director of the National Choir, “Voices of Zion”