Sunday, August 12, 2012

And Just Why are We Studying Music, Anyway? (A CM Perspective)


Ode to the questions of concerned, but busy families and teachers. Whether they are caring for their own children or students, their grandchildren, or even one or more of the children in their neighborhood, and whether those children are in public school, private school, homeschool, preschool, or Sunday school, those concerned families, teachers, and friends typically ask very related questions in order to find purposeful ways of offering a rich and meaningful life to the children in their care.

Many of these concerned individuals are interested in children's overall development. Others are simply interested in finding a way to help something in the world come alive for a child who truly needs direction in his life. Still others are specifically interested in learning how to open up the world of music to children in gentle ways.

Most of these concerned individuals would be surprised and delighted to learn how to use everyday events, with minimal effort and time, to cultivate a lifestyle which naturally grows in awareness, understanding, and appreciation of music. They can choose one or more age-old, living activities which offer surprising opportunities for musical growth in small, simple, yet increasingly powerful ways. Armed with a few simple principles, that is exactly what can be accomplished for children whether they are listening to music for worship or pleasure, or learning to pay attention to bird calls, or singing favorite melodies together, and/or etc...

Those who are interested in more formalized opportunities for their children or students, such as private lessons and/or opportunities to be involved in choir, orchestra, band, or etc., might also benefit from learning about the same types of little, enjoyable, lifestyle changes which can significantly enhance children's musical growth.

Those who are seeking to empower children in their efforts towards specific aspirations in music would also benefit from similar, gentle, lifestyle choices.

Happily, those lifestyle choices are best built upon the very same principles for any child, whatever his/her future holds.

However, before considering any specific activities which illustrate those principles clearly, it is best to start with the foundation upon which those principles ought to be built. That foundation is discerned by answering the simple question, "What is the purpose of studying music, anyway?" Then one can more effectively determine the answers to questions such as, "What must our family do?"

One can find answers to each of these questions by taking a little time to explore both the more common, day to day joys and benefits of music, as well as pondering scriptural guidance and considerations related to music. There are also the writings of Charlotte Mason to weigh, as they so often shed richer light on both the day to day considerations and scriptural considerations.


[Though there are many scientific studies which discuss the value of music in the broad scope of the development of a child, that type of information will be set aside for this discussion.]

The Warm Fuzzy, Non-Tangibles of Music

Warm Fuzzies are Nice, but How Important are They?

The warm fuzzy, non-tangibles of music are a main drawing point for many families and individuals who pursue any type of musical activity with children, whether that is simply listening to music, or it is naturally singing together, or it is anything more. However, in spite of the draw of those non-tangibles, most people believe that the nature and importance of those non-tangibles is too abstract to identify.

In the days before modern technology, those non-tangibles were understood to be important and powerful to individuals, families, worship, even schools, as well as society in general. When one felt a need to put those non-tangibles of music into play in their life, they simply made music as well as they knew how. Various members of families, religious communities, or societies as a whole have embraced music to feed their own soul, to express the depths of their heart, to simply rejoice, or release tension, or to knit hearts together at all levels of society. They used those non-tangibles to do all of these things and more, simply by making music as they moved through the day's work, times of worship, moments of patriotism, quiet times of rest, and more.

Though there were always some members of society who were better prepared than others to influence or perform music in many instances, and certainly, some individuals never felt prepared to do so at all. However, the society in general valued and employed the non-tangibles of music effectively for many purposes.

That natural outpouring of families, religious organizations, schools, and society at large is being lost to much of the developed world because there is a reliance upon technology to ###### make music for us.

Yes, people are aware of the warm-fuzzy quality of some music, the force of other music, and so on, but they believe that none of that is really definable at any level. Thus, in their minds, it is obviously not anything which can be discussed with a child - it might be alluded to, but it is never really discussed. This scenario continues on from one generation to the next, perpetuating itself; therefore, most individuals do not know how to begin to weigh them effectively when deciding how important music is for any given child. Later, when life gets busy, or when costs factor into real life, the vague sense of those non-tangibles remain too abstract to weigh.

There are some who do persevere in helping to make music more accessible for children. However, those individuals typically focus on the more obvious elements of music, such as: the text of some silly songs or spiritual songs, the beat of a march, the difference between high and low pitches, the difference between fast and slow music, or the relative loudness or softness of music. Those who are a bit more 'in the know' might actually point out the difference between music 'in two', or 'three', or 'four', etc.... A few actually help children learn to be able to sing.

All of this is good, but perhaps it is a bit like teaching the alphabet without teaching one to learn to listen to a good story attentively. (for those who are unfamiliar with the methods of Charlotte Mason, Miss Mason quite literally taught children to attend to stories more effectively, bit by bit, by having them narrate what they heard....... it is a powerful approach, and highly recommended - - - it is just one example of teaching children to pay more attention to something they already love...., and the same can be done in music...). Without learning to really listen to a good story, some of the important meaning in the story might be lost to the child.

The same is true for music. Without learning to really listen to meaningful music, some of the important meaning in the music is also lost on the listener.

Keep in mind that, though it is useful to teach children to read and write in their mother tongue at the very least, and there is a direct parallel in the teaching of reading and writing in music, that is not the subject at hand. The point of this discussion has more to do with learning to listen to music in order to discern more of its meaning than might be evident at first 'glance.'

It is the contention of this author that the warm-fuzzy non-tangibles of music really and truly revolve around the meaning of the music itself. The more fully one comprehends the meaning, the more the non-tangibles of music fill our hunger for music.

However, children are actually drawn to the warm-fuzzy non-tangibles of music much more than they are to the elements of music. It turns out that those non-tangibles are really the purpose of music, and beat, rhythm, pitch, tempo, dynamics and more merely help to define those non-tangibles from moment to moment. Of course, any truly meaningful, or living, text is capable of helping to fulfill one's hunger for those non-tangibles, but the text in and of itself is not enough, or poetry and prose would suffice.

Throughout the ages, mankind has naturally been driven to try to fill a real hunger for those non-tangibles of music. They have always done so as well as they knew how, not only by listening to the best singers and instrumentalists in any given community, but also by making music in one's own heart. The more living truth which could be packed into the music, with or without text, the more mankind's need was fulfilled. Certainly fun and silly songs fill a valuable roll for mankind - as joy and diversion are of great benefit, especially in our imperfect world, but the deep hunger of mankind calls for something much more.

Though the little objectives of beat, tempo, dynamics, and etc. mentioned above have very real value, they do not, in and of themselves, help fill one's hunger for those non-tangibles of music. Those objectives neither help develop a lifestyle of listening to meaningful music, nor do they help children become comfortable with the joy, fellowship, and even sustenance of making melody in their heart (by listening, singing, or even possibly playing an instrument), or better yet making music together with others who value living truth in music as well - - - any, or all, as an enduring lifestyle.

Certainly, not everyone has reached the point of becoming comfortable with singing. Those who have not, understandably feel unable to help their children break through into a lifestyle of singing. Many of them have even been encouraged to leave singing with their children to people who can sing well, so as not to hinder their children's musical sense. Though there is some amount of merit to that admonition, there are other considerations to weigh. Whether one learns to sing with their own children and students or not, there is a growing trend to disregard the children's need for guidance in developing a meaningful lifestyle of enjoying meaningful music. While some of their children pick up singing naturally, or are naturally inclined to prefer meaningful music, most of them never do so without intervention.

The end result is that when those families inadvertently fail to guide their children into making wise musical choices, the children's hunger for those non-tangibles of meaningful music usually goes unmet. That vacuum is all too readily filled with musical 'fast food' of a degrading nature.

The solution is to help children learn how to discern those non-tangibles of music, and then, in time, learn to use discretion when filling their need for those non-tangibles.

Sadly, most people have never really considered how to bring a child's attention to learning to discern the meaning of music, and thereby relish in the way a well crafted musical line conveys meaning to the soul. Yes, some meanings expressed in music are relatively obvious, but other meanings are more subtle, and it is the more subtle meanings which engage the heart more completely - helping children learn more fully to 'make melody in their hearts.'

In a society teeming with technology, does this distance from making music in one's own heart add to the sense that music is a spectator sport? When most people are the spectators, are they inclined to give in to the habit of 'being at the mercy of musical choices' made by those who are making music for them - especially when those who are making music for them can wrap up a package that says 'buy me - you know you want to' - whether there is any real living sustenance to the content or not? In short, who all is involved with making musical choices for children who have not developed an appreciation and love of meaningful music, and what forces are driving those choices? Which ones should your children tune in to?.... and, yes, most of them will tune in to music somewhere. What music will it be?

After all, just because someone doesn't wish to make music in one's own heart, it does not mean that they wish to give up all of those very meaningful non-tangibles of music. There is still a lingering desire for music to fill most children's hearts - adults hearts as well. What music is likely to be filling those hearts next, and why?

Because of the rather obvious answers to these questions, it is becoming increasingly important for all of us to give some thought to how or why many of us must set aside at least a little time to explore things such as 'ideas which are built into the fabric of music' let alone some basics about how those ideas are conveyed - beginning with little, but meaningful ways, and growing into a lifestyle of enjoying the process of learning more, bit by bit.


A Real Force for Change!

Can music really help to tame the savage beast?

How much can music do to help transform the world of tomorrow by establishing a sense of culture, values, and roots for the children of today?

Most children are living in a society which is increasingly restless and rootless. Not only are families increasingly unsettled in the matter of where they live, the restless nature of every day life can also be seen when families eat on the run ever so often.

Even in the midst of that restless and rootless ebb and flow in society, music can provide a common thread throughout a child's own life, let alone a common thread amongst the lives of children in that child's community.

But Which Ideas Should Be Allowed to Influence our Children While they are Young?

The popular culture is quite eager to provide a common thread for children through the sale of music, movies, and more; but what ideas are they willing to sell? Which of those the ideas should children really buy into?

Children throughout history have grown up with an appetite and appreciation for music of various styles, whether that music was rich in culture and meaningful ideas, or whether that music was degrading in nature.

Children of today will do the same. Those who sell music for profit are likely to help children develop the cultural appetites of the common culture, and today, that common culture is scraping lower and lower because that makes a growing profit these days. But is that what is best for our children? Does that trend bode well for the future of their society?

What are the alternatives? How important are they today? Can a positive change be made at any level?

When children experience music which is rich in quality, joy, uplifting ideas, culture, values, and/or roots, that music naturally nurtures in children's hearts a love of truth, honesty, purity, beauty, goodness, and etc. (see Philippians 4:8). As a result, that music not only becomes meaningful to them, it also helps those children to develop both a habit of, and a real appetite for, enjoying meaningful music. It also begins to develop roots for those children, whether that music is old or new.

When one considers the history of both lovely and rich music as well as the history of degrading music, it becomes clear that the current dilemma was true in times past, and not only today. Many concerned individuals helped children overcome that dilemma in times past, and that potential is still available to us today.

Through the abuse of technology, degrading music is more pervasive in society, however, music of real worth can still add richness to the lives of children of today - though perhaps one must be more purposeful in guiding children into such a lifestyle.

The question simply becomes, "How does one gently guide children into a lifestyle of valuing meaningful music?" Then, quite naturally, a related question also arises, "What is there about music which both has been and still can be meaningful to children of today?"

Certainly, if we do not yet appreciate meaningful music; or if we do, if we do not yet know how to guide our children into attending to that which is rich about meaningful music for themselves; further, if we do not know how to provide opportunities for children to discover little 'musical secrets' for themselves through both experiencing music and through little leading questions; we are not likely to be able to help our children appreciate meaningful music fully for themselves. Thus, a surprising number of our children are all too likely to to listen to their own mere whims and fleshly responses to cultural music.

Therefore, it is time that we learn more about the most natural approaches to both enjoying and exploring meaningful music with our children.

The place to begin is with our own understanding and appreciation of the beauty, and the power, and even the sheer joy of music.


How Meaningful Can all that Noise Be, Anyway?

What about Music has been so Meaningful in Times Past?

A lot of music is obviously joyous, yet music is much more than that alone.

Music also has the power to express all moods and feelings.

Music can at once rejoice in the best of truths, and at the same time, wipe away the burdens of life past.

The Waits!
Slowly they play, poor careful Souls,
With wistful thoughts of Christmas cheer,
Unwitting how their music rolls
Away the burden of the year.
And with the charm, the homely rune,
Our thoughts - -
- - - - - -like childhood's thoughts are given,
When all our pulses beat in tune
With all the stars of heaven.'

(as quoted in the CMSeries, Vol II, pg. 280)

The Power of Music! What a blessing to the poor in spirit.

The Power of Music! What a charity to those that mourn.

The Power of Music! What a boon to those who serve others.

The Power of Music! What bounty for those who rejoice!

The Power of Music! What a gift to those who build up the church!

The Power of Music! What a reward to those who face persecution, and who thus have need to sing in the dungeons of life!

The Power of Music! What an adornment upon His own - - What exaltation for His Son!


What Other Benefits Might There Be?

Charlotte Mason knew that music is much more than a great pleasure in and of itself. She specifically stated some of the benefits of studying music. Some being academic, others deeply spiritual.

Academic & Societal Benefits

Training in Attention to the World Around You!

"Discrimination of Sounds–A quick and true ear is another possession that does not come by Nature, or anyway, if it does, it is too often lost. How many sounds can you distinguish in a sudden silence out of doors? ...... Music is, no doubt, the means par excellence for this kind of ear culture. ....... and, if a child never become a performer, to have acquired a cultivated and correct ear is no small part of a musical education." (CMSeries, Vol II, pg. 185)

A Dynamic Force for Learning and Sharing Powerful Ideas

More importantly, music can convey the voice of ideas which are important enough that Charlotte Mason referred to the 'voice' of worthy ideas in music as "the voice of a prophet" (as per the FreeDictionary definition, a prophet is: "a person gifted with profound moral insight and exceptional powers of expression").

Miss Mason infers that the part of the educator is to intentionally help the student to understand the vehicle of music well enough to understand and even specifically identify at least the general force of ideas contained in that music, which then provides an invitation to grow into an ability to understand more subtle meanings over time.

While the gist of much music is intuitive almost immediately, such as a hunting call, a marching drum beat, tense music which is played during a movie, a lullaby, or an alleluia; other ideas are more subtle, such as a song which doesn't quite come to a final resolution at its ending point, which might mean one thing in one example of music, and quite another thing in another example.

Further, the nature of sound itself impels certain understanding on the part of a listener when one is listening to a given bit of music put together by a song-writer or composer. Yet, on the other hand, the listener's own past experiences with various types of music, and perhaps the listener's own sensory development, can prejudice a listener's understanding of musical ideas.

Then is the process of bringing children's attention to ideas in meaningful music complex? No. Rather, children can first be brought to understand how capable they are of deciphering the more obvious meanings in music, and then they can begin to be gently challenged to understand some of the most basic mechanisms which help to convey those ideas to their hearts, minds, and spirits. Then they can more readily move on to the challenges of understanding more subtle meanings in music.

By exploring music together informally, but specifically, one can learn to help one's students to grow in such a way that they demand great art from artists of their own day; that such art will then be filled with the important ideas which need new emphasis in the students' own time:

"A new Conception of Art; great Ideas demand great Art – Looking out on the realm of Art again, we think we discern the signs of the times. Some of us begin to learn the lesson which a prophet has been raised up to deliver to this, or the last, generation. We begin to understand that mere technique, however perfect––whether in the rendering of flesh tints, or marbles, or of a musical composition of extreme difficulty is not necessarily high Art. It is beginning to dawn upon us that Art is great only in proportion to the greatness of the idea that it expresses; while what we ask of the execution, the technique, is that it shall be adequate to the inspiring idea. .... and lastly, we shall inspire our children with those great ideas which shall create a demand, anyway, for great Art." (CMSeries, Vol. II, pg. 262)

Living Ideas!

What are Living Ideas?

And here, before going on, perhaps it would be useful to inform the reader something of Charlotte Mason's views of the term 'living idea.' It has been said by those interpreting Miss Mason's writings that a living idea is much like a seed. If planted in the soul of a man and tended properly with that which is needed to further life, it will bear fruit after its kind.

The Ultimate Example of a Living Truth or Idea

The most living idea that has ever arisen in this earth, is the idea which is understood through God’s gift to us. God gave His only Son for us, who had already brought death upon ourselves through our own sin (Romans 6:23). His Son conquered death for us so that we may have eternal life (I Thess 5:10). His Son's resurrection is living evidence of the truth that God is filled with a living and active love for us - a love which produces action for those whom He loves.

Jesus Himself compared the living ideas contained in the gospel message with seeds which are scattered by the sower. Luke 8:4-15

When that seed is received by a fallen soul, that living idea is literally planted in his spirit. Then that which is brought forth from that seed - - - is a new life in the spirit of the man, a form of life after the kind of the seed itself: a new live in the spirit of the man who had been dead, but who now lives forever.

"....but the one who lives only for the joy ...[received from] this world is the same as dead." I Timothy 5:6 - NLV

"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever believeth and liveth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" John 11:25-26

Then the Holy Spirit is given to each one who believes. The Holy Spirit's being given from God to man is assumed to be an ongoing event that necessarily began to occur when a man begins to obey Him.

"...the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey Him." Acts 5:32

The Holy Spirit then bears witness to us, in line with scripture, that we are God's children.

"The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God." Romans 8:16 AMP

As we continue to trust Him and obey Him, He will direct our paths, helping us to understand what is good and true.

"(1) Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and (2) lean not unto thine own understanding. (3) In all of thy ways acknowledge Him, and (4) He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

As we understand what is good and true, the Holy Spirit helps us to understand love more and more fully, "...the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5b

That which is produced from that love is part of the 'fruit' which arises from the 'living idea', or seed of God's love for us: "..the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control...." Galatians 5:22-23a

That love, which is a part of the fruit of the Spirit, is the love of God and grows after the manner of the seed itself.

"..Whoso keepeth his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected.... he that loveth his brother abideth in the light." I John 2:5a, 10

Yes, there is still a need for the (a) heart and (b) mind to come under the influence of the love living in the (c) spirit. This love cannot be perfected without following the lead of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not fail to bear witness to the new spirit in the man - clarifying at all times what love is in each and every moment. (Sometimes we want instruction on one aspect of life, while He expects us to have heeded a previous message first, so sometimes we miss His guidance, but it is always there waiting for us to come in line with His previous word so that we can hear the new instruction we are seeking.)

After all, even the winds and seas obey Him. Matthew 8:27



.; and yes, to do so effectively, the heart and mind must join together, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, battle the flesh. When the battle is being won, the love in the spirit is bearing fruit in the life of the man. Then the fruit of the Spirit is brought forth in kind with the seed of love planted in his spirit to start with. The living result is simply, yet beautifull this – the love of God flowing out from the heart of man.

In that case, an idea having to do directly with spiritual things bears fruit predominantly in spiritual ways. On the other hand, living ideas which are related more to the laws of physics, which simply describe precisely that which is observed in God's created world, when understood, can bear forth fruit mostly in the physical realm - such as the ability to vault a skyscraper on either bedrock or shifting sub-strata. And then again, a living idea having to do with economics will produce fruit predominantly after its kind, in economic affairs.

Living Ideas in Music

The extraordinary thing about music is that it can carry forth ideas in almost any realm of thought! Those who are devout believers might most relate music to deeply spiritual ideas. However, music can do much more. Music can convey the same ideas that inspire various types of architecture, convey appropriate attitudes of politeness or reverence in social or spiritual settings, can convey rest or tension or joy in conjunction with any film or opera. It carries forth ideas of national pride, thrill of the chase, and ever so much more, including battle commands. In short, it is very possible that music can express more effectively than words, just about any ideas and/or feelings related to life in general, or related to any new experience one might have in life.

Appetites for Living Ideas in Music Should be Cultivated

Music saturates our culture. A great deal of music is wholesome and filled with great ideas. At the same time, a great portion of our culture's music carries forth ideas which celebrate and instruct in what the Bible would call 'the ways of death.' Those who saturate themselves with such music develop an appetite for the ideas found therein. Even if those individuals rightly believe that they would not act on such ideas, they are, at the very least, preferring to associate with evil thoughts rather than godly thoughts. At some point in time, a good number of those people make a decided effort to set such music aside when they realize how damaging that music is to many people. Many of those who try to leave such music behind find that it is a struggle because they have nurtured an appetite for whatever type of music has made up their musical diet. Many of those individuals simply try to leave old music habits behind by choosing to no longer listen to such music. If the Spirit empowers such efforts, they are very likely to succeed. However, the Spirit typically guides such individuals to develop an appetite for other nourishment, be that Bible study, the reading of good literature, the practice of service to others, listening to other types of music, and/or etc.. Thus, for many who live in a culture saturated with various types of music, disciplining themselves in the habit of nurturing some new appetite(s) is vital for change.

Miss Mason knew this to be true about all appetites in life, generally speaking, and had this to say on the subject:

"Perhaps it is not too much to say, that ninety-nine out of a hundred lost lives lie at the door of parents who took no pains to deliver them from sloth, from sensual appetites, from willfulness, no pains to fortify them with the habits of a good life." (Charlotte Mason Series, Vol I, pg. 332)

Matthew 6:21 tells us that "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." might one treasure the ideas in music, whether those ideas be good or evil? Further, Proverbs 8:38 says that those who are not finding God are hurting themselves, and further, that they love death. How lifeless must be the ideas such individuals dwell upon?

What pains, therefore, ought parents to take in order to do what they might to help deliver their own children from any inclination they might have to develop damaging appetites in music at some time in their life? Certainly, the Holy Spirit can guide in a living way to do this, rather than in a way of legalism, which is dead and produces only death after its kind.

All Truthful Ideas are Inspired by God Almighty - even those in music!

Most powerful of all, Miss Mason understood and taught that those ideas which are worthy of voice, and which find voice through art, aye, music as well, are inspired by the Almighty God. Thus, those who access living ideas in music are witness to His inspirations. Certainly one can discern the abuse of such knowledge when knowledge is used to further ill intentions. However, that does not negate the initial source of that knowledge being God Almighty.

"The Great Recognition – Many Christian people rise a little higher; they conceive that even grammar and arithmetic may in some not very clear way be used for God; but the great recognition, that God the Holy Spirit is Himself, personally, the Imparter of knowledge, the Instructor of youth, the Inspirer of genius, is a conception so far lost to us that we should think it distinctly irreverent to conceive of the divine teaching as co-operating with ours in a child's arithmetic lesson, for example. But the Florentine mind of the Middle Ages went further than this: it believed, not only that the seven Liberal Arts were fully under the direct outpouring of the Holy Ghost, but that every fruitful idea, every original conception, whether in Euclid, or grammar, or music, was a direct inspiration from the Holy Spirit, without any thought at all as to whether the person so inspired named himself by the name of God, or recognised whence his inspiration came." (Charlotte Mason Series, Vol. II, pg. 270-271)

Miss Mason went on to question whether or not this conception of the source of knowledge is true, and then to settle the question with this example, that God provides the guidance to each step of the farmer, and thus, it is understood that He provides the knowledge and ideas needed for all else in life as well. The evidence she provided to confirm this conviction assertively is found in the Bible itself:

'Doth the powman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face thereof, doeth he not cast abroad the fitches and scatter the cummin, and cast the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. This also cometh forth from the Lord of Hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.' (Isaiah 28:24-29)

God as Guide in the Teaching of Music!

Charlotte Mason not only considered God to be the source of knowledge about all subjects, and thus, He is the source of all knowledge related to music; she also recognized Him to be the source of all of the knowledge which a teacher would need in relation to the teaching of music as well.

"His God doth instruct him and doth teach him. Let the mother visualise the thought as an illuminated scroll about her newborn child, and let her never contemplate any kind of instruction for her child, except under the sense of the divine co-operation. But we must remember that here as everywhere the infinite and almighty Spirit of God works under limitations......

"Our co-operation appears to be the indispensable condition of all the divine workings. We recognise this in what we call spiritual things, meaning the things that have to do more especially with our approaches to God; but the new thing to us is, that grammar, for example, may be taught in such a way as to invite and obtain the co-operation of the Divine Teacher, or in such a way as to exclude His illuminating presence from the schoolroom....

"But perhaps the immediate point is that ...teaching ... guiding ideas and simple principles, .... without pedantry and without verbiage, is, we may venture to believe, accompanied by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit, of whom is all knowledge.

"Teaching that Invites and that Repels Divine Cooperation -- The contrary is equally true. Such teaching as enwraps a child's mind in folds of many words that his thought is unable to penetrate, which gives him rules and definitions, and tables, in lieu of ideas––this is teaching which excludes and renders impossible the divine co-operation." (Charlotte Mason Series, Vol. II, pg. 273-274)

"What a revolution should we have in our methods of education if we could once conceive that dry-as-dust subjects like grammar and arithmetic should come to children, living with the life of the Holy Spirit, who, we are told, 'shall teach you all things.'" (Charlotte Mason Series, Vol III, pg. 118)

"Spirit to Spirit" fellowship should be our focus

What does 'Spirit to spirit' fellowship mean?

Miss Mason further taught, that in any matter (not necessarily more so in the matter of music, but indeed so in the matter of music), when we are with other people, even our own children, we are actually not relating to them as much 'parent to child,' or 'face to face,' or 'person to person,' as we are 'spirit to spirit.'

"Once we see that we are dealing spirit with spirit with the friend at whose side we are sitting, ..... We begin by believing in the children as spiritual beings of unmeasured powers––intellectual, moral, spiritual––capable of receiving and constantly enjoying intuitions from the intimate converse of the Divine Spirit." (Charlotte Mason Series, Vol. II, excerpts from 276, 277)

Music as an undisputable aid in spirit to spirit fellowship

Might the following verses help one value music in 'Spirit to Spirit' fellowship?

"Let the words of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Col 3:16

"Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:18b-20)

Do the truths in the following quotes, which relate to all subjects of study, relate to music in some special way?

"Once we see that we are dealing spirit with spirit with the friend at whose side we are sitting, with the people who attend to our needs, we shall be able to realise how incessant is the commerce between the divine Spirit and our human spirit. It will be to us as when one stops one's talk and one's thoughts in the springtime, to find the world full of bird-music unheard the instant before. . In like manner we shall learn to make pause in our thoughts, and shall hear in our intellectual perplexities, as well as in our moral, the clear, sweet, cheering and inspiring tones of our spiritual Guide.

"We are told that the Spirit is life; therefore, that which is dead, dry as dust, mere bare bones, can have no affinity with Him, can do no other than smother and deaden his vitalising influences. A first condition of this vitalising teaching is that all the thought we offer to our children shall be living thought; no mere dry summaries of facts will do; given the vitalising idea, children will readily hang the mere facts upon the idea as upon a peg capable of sustaining all that it is needful to retain. We begin by believing in the children as spiritual beings of unmeasured powers––intellectual, moral, spiritual––capable of receiving and constantly enjoying intuitions from the intimate converse of the Divine Spirit.

"The child's progress is by leaps and bounds, and you wonder why." (Charlotte Mason Series, Vol. II, pg. 277)

Every subject has its living way

"Every subject has its living way, with ... 'its guiding idea' at the head, and it is only as we discover this living way in each case that a subject of instruction makes for the education of a child. No neat system is of any use; it is the very nature of a system to grow stale in the using; every subject, every division of a subject, every lesson, in fact, must be brought up for examination before it is offered to the child as to whether it is living, vital, of a nature to invite the living Intellect of the universe." (Charlotte Mason Series, Vol II, pg. 279)

What is the guiding idea which leads us into the living way of music?

This next post begins exploring 'the living way' of music by identifying it's 'guiding idea.'

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