In my last article, Why Should I Learn an Instrument? I briefly referenced Psalm 33:3 where it says, “Play skillfully with a loud noise.” This verse has become an immense encouragement in my own journey of learning, teaching, and playing skillfully, and also helped me understand why we as Christian musicians should include classical studies in our preparation for ministry. (I touched briefly on this subject in the first goal of Thoroughly Equipping Music Students for Life, Part 1.)
We are counseled in Ecclesiastes 9:10 to do with all our might whatsoever our hands find to do. If “whatsoever” is a universal term then this counsel reaches into the realm of music education, as well as into other areas of life. And this is where I get almost passionately enthused with the sheer delight of music and all things teaching. Here is an admonition to do what we do, well. It’s almost as though I have just been given permission to do what I love, well, and I feel almost as excited as a ten-year-old who has just been commanded to spend chore time at the fish pond. 🙂
In a way, this subject of playing skillfully will serve as a sort of bridge spanning the gap between the behind-the-scenes pedagogical worldview and the up-front practicalities of making it happen. We’ve already established why we ought to put effort into studying. So what about the how?
Playing skillfully is challenging, no matter how you look at it. Even the most gifted musician you know would probably tell you that they had to work for the level they attained. In all truthfulness, it takes years to master an instrument. This fact leaves teachers with a task requiring painstaking attention to detail and just general attentiveness. Looking ahead to future articles, I hope to focus our discussions on various details that we ought to seek to develop in our students’ playing.
Teaching is such a delight – I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
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