If I convinced you in Part 1 of this post that you have been given some amount of musical potential by God, your next question might be, “Now what?” Maybe you’re wondering what the best way is to nurture and strengthen this potential in the early years of your own child’s life. How do children become musical, and what part do caregivers and families play in this process?
In upcoming blog posts, I will expound on the specifics of what a musical environment looks like in the infant, toddler, and early elementary years. Right now, though, I would want to share how the programs that we have at Tenth can help to build on the home and community musical environment and further foster musical growth at a crucial point of our children’s development.
The programs that we have developed at Tenth thus far—Praisemakers for 4 and 5 year-olds and Schola Cantorum for children in grades 1-6—embrace a pedagogical approach to music instruction that is both developmentally appropriate and musically sound (pun fully intended!). This instruction is facilitated by a committed, believing faculty of formally trained musicians, the vast majority of whom are professional music educators.
Our teachers encourage children to sing and make music to the Lord, while simultaneously guiding them into the practical realization of their gifts. This is accomplished through the use of a research-based curriculum that offers multiple opportunities for singing, moving, playing, and eventually, reading music. We want students to view music as a gift from God that is fun, natural, and just as necessary as reading or math. Most importantly, we teach them that they can and should participate in music throughout their lives. Singing is so much the norm that they learn not to be inhibited, but rather, to rejoice in and use their musical gifts as a matter of course.
Praisemakers class takes place during the 11 AM service. In this class, our youngest music students learn about what it really means to purposely make a joyful noise to and for the Lord. They sing, play, move, chant, and hear about how God loves them and commands them to sing songs to and about him. In class, students will be exposed to the idea of how to use their singing voices and move comfortably to beat, all in an engaging and fun way!
Schola is held on Sunday evenings during the 6:30 PM worship service. In addition to general music class and choir rehearsal, we have a unique hymn program in which students learn about and sing through some of the greatest hymns of the faith. Each year students are afforded the opportunity to learn nine hymns so that by the time they "graduate," they will have encountered and memorized more than 50 hymns! When life offers challenges, the Lord brings these powerful songs to our minds and hearts to encourage, rebuke, comfort or move us to praise. Instruction in these songs of prayer and praise is a powerful and life-long gift that we are privileged to give to our covenant children.
These programs are offered at no cost, and we invite both children of our congregation as well as children from the surrounding areas to attend. I cannot encourage you enough to make the commitment to send your kids to music classes here at Tenth.