HOW TO CHOOSE MUSIC FOR
Warning: The devil
does not want you to read this: he did everything he could to stop it.
|As Christians, there are two important questions we
must ask about the music we are exposed to and expose others to.
1. Will it glorify
1 Corinthians 10:31NIV "So whether you eat or drink or
whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" "This
is the over-riding biblical principle. Anything that cannot
high standard will weaken our experience with the Lord." SDA
Philosophy of Music, 2004
2. Is it the
noblest and the best?
Philipians 4:8NASB "Finally,
brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if
there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind
dwell on these things." "Seventh-day Adventist music-making means to
choose the best and above all to draw close to our Creator and Lord and
glorify Him" SDA Philosophy of Music, 2004.
"On these two
foundations—glorifying God in all things and choosing the noblest and
the best—depend the choice of music we will use in both, our personal
lives and in our public lives. Whether we are leading out in
a Sabbath School division, Children’s Church, Happy Holiday
Hour, or any other programme that we may be involved in." SDA Philosophy of Music, 2004.
Music in the Bible
Chronicles 16:23-24 - a part of David's song
of thanksgiving when the ark arrived in Jerusalem.
47, epecially verses
12:22-23; Revelation chapters 4-5.
Samuele Bacchiocchi in his
Christian and Rock Music p. 180 states "God is holy and we worhip Him
with deep respect, awe, and affection. Both in the Jerusalem
Temple and in the heavenly sanctuary, God is worshipped with great
reverence and respect. The same attitude should be manifested
our worship today, because God does not change."
The purpose of
music in Sabbath School is to: (Building
Little Christians p. 171 Alice Lowe)
moods and atmosphere for worship: sacredness,
participation, quiet, happy contentment and at times, quiet
- This is no trivial matter, consider what happened to
Nadab and Abihu when they used "secular" fire in the place of sacred
fire. (Leviticus 10:1-3) The Bible, Samuele
Bacchiocchi in The Christian and Rock Music, The SDA Philosophy of
Music, R R Breitigam in The Challenge of Child Evangelism and
Kathleen Meyers in Teaching Tiny Tots all warn about this mixing of
- One camp meeting in North NZ, 400 kindy kids
were cramped into a hot, stuffy hall for
Sabbath School. Whenever they
became restless we sang "Quiet Be Quiet" (No 41, Little Sabbath Songs
by Janet Sage) and the children would be
ready to continue on with the program.
- Help children to verbalize their love for and commitment to God
- Provide an opportunity to express thankfulness to God
a story and increase the potential of understanding the story or lesson.
children for an activity eg. prayer - Alice Lowe says "It
can tell them when it is time to commence Sabbath School, prepare for
prayer, or tiptoe to class. If worshipful music that the
understand is played as they enter the room, it will help to lead their
minds and feelings into worship." Building Little
Christians p. 171
As E. G. White says, "There
are few means more effective for
fixing His words in the memory than repeating them in song.
such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and
uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy,
to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding
that destroy courage and weaken effort. It is one of the most
effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. How often
to the soul hard-pressed and ready to despair, memory recalls some word
of God's--the long-forgotten burden of a childhood song, --and
temptations lose their power, life takes on new meaning and new
purpose, and courage and gladness are imparted to other souls!"
Education p. 167, 168
for Sabbath School: If as a leader
you have no understanding of music then
I would suggest that you work closely with your pianist when
- Choose only Christ
centered songs - The words, actions and music should all
reflect Christ. "Music
about God should be like God... suitable to praise God in Heaven" The Christian
and Rock Music p.338, 339, 341 Eurydice
- What thought
associations the song will have? - Remember
that many children spend time in daycare, playgroup or school where
learn songs such as "Twinkle twinkle little star", " I went to visit
farm one day" and many others. They associate these songs
"school" - they are secular and changing a few words will not
change this association for them.
- Are the words
should not be too long: 2-4
phrases are plenty
for the Beginner child. However, avoid repeating either a
part of a song,
mindlessly over and over again. Excessive repition causes a
of subconsious anger, this is a technique used by the devil to gain a
foothold in the minds of the listeners. For more information
see our page on How Music
affects the Mind and the Body
Is the music
- Are they inspiring, theologically and gramatically
- Does this song really have something worthwhile to say?
There should be a purpose in singing the song; it should
the theme or lesson for the day.
- Are they easy for the children to hear and understand?
Beginner and Kindy children do not understand symbolism:
The song "I
will make you fishers of men" will have them visualizing
with fishhooks; and Primaries will need an adult to explain the meaning
- Will the children be able to learn and sing them easily?
Wherever possible, include
some songs the children already know. - For younger
children, keep the welcome,
birthday, visitors, offering, prayer and closing songs the same all
- Is it too fast or too slow? - If
it is too fast the
children cannot follow the music and words and if it is too slow they
will lose interest.
- Is it too high or too low? - Does it suit the voice
range of the age group singing it?
- Will it be easy for the children to learn and sing? - The
music should have an attractive, simple melody.
- Does the tone of the music fit the words? - Happy words
with happy music. The harmony should also be simple
and free from discords.
- It should by rythmic but not jazzy. For more information
see our page on How
Music affects the Mind and the Body
- The music should blend with, and support the singing.
The Christian and Rock Music p. 315 Guenter Preus
"Are we seeking the
of the Holy Spirit in our choice of both secular and religious
music? We must remember that spiritual things can only be
discerned spiritually. This means that we need the Holy
to guide us in our choice of music. This is especially true
when we have been exposed to so much information, musical and
otherwise, that has desensitized us… We must allow the Holy Spirit to
enlighten us on whether the music we are listening to has a spiritually
uplifting effect, or is making a rebellious, depressive impact."
The Christian and Rock Music 380-381 Brian Neumann
Preparing songs for
Osterman in The Christian and Rock Music p. 336 states "When
leaders are weak or afraid to take a stand, they tend to yield to the
whims and desires of the parishioners. Instead of leading,
are led, causing their own eternal loss as well as that of the people
entrusted to them. …When leaders fail to lead the people into paths of
righteousness, they allow them to follow the path to
self-destruction... Often in Contemporary Christian music, the holy is
mixed with the profane, because the ultimate concern is to make sales,
rather than to save lost sinners."
- Have the music in correct order for your pianist.
An A4 plastic sleeved folder is great for doing this.
- You need good instrumental accompaniment - a poor
accompaniment can be
worse than none! The instrument also needs to be kept in good
in tune: children’s ears are more perceptive to the tone of music than
- If you need to use a CD player, write a list of the order
of songs and
how many times it is repeated, and have someone else run the machine on
the day: as leader you need to be focused on the children.
Click here for instructions on
making a DVD with music.
- Music should be comfortable loudness to support the
singing: remember children's ears are more sensitive than adults.
pianist and any relief pianists need to have the music ahead of time to
- Learn the new song ahead of time
yourself: you need to lead the others in the singing.
Teaching New Songs:
Words, Actions and
- Have the
pianist play the melody then play it and sing with them 2-3 times;
repeat 2-3 times for the next few weeks till the children have learnt
- After the children have learnt the melody, the pianist
can add a simple harmony
an enthusiastic attitude when teaching a new song.
contagious so the children will enjoy the new song as well.
songs the children already know, will give them a chance to enjoy some
of the singing without the extra stress involved in learning each new
the song through first then give the child the visual aid
sing the song again as small children cannot do two tasks at
once. We want the children to learn to sing too.
- Have the
words available so helpers, parents or older
children can read them to sing
which represent appropriate Sabbath activites
should be used - "Great
care should be taken, however, to prevent the unruly behaviour
rock concerts..." The Christian and Rock Music p.
315 Guenter Prues
- Write out or print the words on A3 and blue tac into an
A3 art book so everyone can see
out or print and stick the words onto A2 or A3 card; use a piece of
string to hang each song or split rings to make them all into a flip
- Older children can use individual song books
- Put the words on power point
- Click here for instructions on
making a DVD with words and music
As a Sabbath School leader you have a very strong
influence over the young minds in your care; the music that you
choose will greatly increase the power of your programme to win these
children for Christ; poor choices in music will weaken your programme,
or may even start the children on the path that eventually leads to
destruction. Working with children under the guidance of the Holy
Spirit is, I believe one of the most rewarding things we can do; and
the joy of seeing children make a decision for God makes it well
worth the effort.
If you would like to know more about the power of music for good and evil, see our page on How Music affects the Mind and
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