Sunday, September 2, 2012

Music as a teaching tool

I think good music is a great teaching tool. Beyond teaching rhythm, pitch, and other music theory topics, learning words to music is a great way to remember them. If the words convey a positive message, such as a moral lesson, the lesson itself can be planted in our minds, and the minds of our children.

I think this can be added to an already long list of why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a hymnbook, from which we sing in our church meetings, and a children's songbook, which is used in Primary. Here are other reasons, as detailed in the First Presidency preface to our hymnbook:

Hymns:
  • invite the Spirit of the Lord
  • create a feeling of reverence
  • unify us as members
  • provide a way for us to offer praises to the Lord
  • move us to repentance and good works
  • build testimony and faith
  • comfort the weary
  • console the mourning
  • inspire us to endure to the end
  • move families toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel
  • greatly benefit us as individuals
  • lift our spirits
  • give us courage
  • move us to righteous action
  • fill our souls with heavenly thoughts
  • bring us a spirit of peace
  • help us withstand the temptations of the adversary
  • crowd out the evil with the good
I know personally that even a child can internalize the lessons taught through music.

I specifically remember being in elementary school - only 5 or 6 years old - and consciously thinking of the song "I'll Walk With You" from the Children's Songbook. The lesson in that song - that we should follow Christ's example and befriend those who are different - helped me decide who to choose for my friends.

Some other hymns or songs that have taught me lessons include (and note that I only linked to the videos to give an example of the audio part - the songs themselves!!):
The Church's music website has a lot of great resources, including tips on how to teach songs to children and the option to download audio files of many songs (for free). Explore how you can use music in your family as a teaching aid!

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