Those who read these pages know that I am a supporter of music education in our schools. Whether they be public, parochial, or home schools (and I have children in all three categories of schools at the moment), music is important. It teaches important thinking skills. But it also equips us to express ourselves through a different medium. People often put a lot of emphasis on verbal expression and analysis. Of course, I think this is important, too. But there is more to the human experience than this realm of thinking. We are not Vulcans. (OK, so I used to watch Star Trek. And I still like Spock.) We do feel and express ourselves in other ways. Music is one of them, and it is powerful.
I had the privilege this past week of spending an hour (or most of it – I was actually a little late -sorry Emma) listening to the music concert at St. Albert school, where my daughter is in the choir. Here is what I heard and saw:
- Parents looking intently for their children and listening carefully to what they were singing. (This is very good. Kids need to know that their parents are listening to them.)
- Same parents beaming with delight as they enjoyed the music their children made. It was not the best music ever. But it was sweet nevertheless.
- Toes tapping, and some folks were even humming along.
- Students singing their hearts out. The Junior High kids were especially fun to watch. You know some of these kids have awkward moments (or in my case as a young fellow, awkward years – some would say I never grew out of them). However, they set all of that aside and focused on their director, Mr. Spann, and did what he wanted them to do. That is quite an accomplishment for the choir director. He is a prince of a fellow who manages to earn the love and respect of these kids.
- Culture being transmitted from generation to generation. These kids aren’t singing rap or the latest stuff. They covered a broad range of sacred and secular music, which allowed everyone in the room to share something in commong for a few moments.
- I also saw the director, Mr. Spann, and the talented accompanist Mrs. Stephany focusing so much of their time and energy on helping these kids develop whatever talent they had to work with. To sweeten this deal, they seemed to enjoy every minute of it.
We all want to help our kids develop into adulthood with as much grace as possible, and sometimes we don’t have all the tools we need to do that ourselves. I salute these folks and their worthy use of time and talent in this way.