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Teaching Children Church Music (1)

Charlie Wingard

Charlie Wingard

Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson and Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Yazoo City, Mississippi

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“The church actually used to be the center of musical education, but this responsibility was handed over to the state decades ago. Sadly, more and more we are witnessing the removal of music from the core of American education. Where does this leave the church now that most public education has made music an extracurricular subject? If the church does not teach the children of God to sing, who will? If the children of God do not have something to sing about, then one might well ask, ‘Who does?’ When we abdicate this responsibility, we forfeit our right and duty to teach to covenant children the songs of the people of God. What songs will be learned instead?

“Research tells us that a child’s musical aptitude (or potential for making music) is in flux until he or she is approximately nine years of age. Before that, a child’s musical environment has a significant effect on this aptitude. This means that children’s music-making potential can either be increased by solid music teaching and environment or be lowered by an instructional or environmental deficiency. Another crucial revelation of current research is that early instruction has a measurable result on a child’s aptitude. In other words, we need to reach children early in life in order to effectively increase their musical potential. One reason for the music crisis in American worship is that neither our church-music heritage nor music itself has been properly learned or valued from childhood. Most of our parents could not teach us because they did not learn it either. If we are to encourage a modern reformation in worship and Christian living, we must begin by reaching and teaching the next generation of church leaders – the children.”

– Paul S. Jones, Singing and Making Music: Issues in Church Music Today (P&R: 2006), 149

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