A couple of months ago my wife came across a meme on Facebook entitled “Reasons to Study Music.” With compelling graphics, it offered six to eight benefits that studying music provides. I’ve seen similar lists before, but all are derived from a secular viewpoint. I was led to come up with a list that also provides a Biblical and theological viewpoint.
If you find the list useful, please feel free use it. Downloadable PDF files of the statement are below in with two different titles:
- “Why Study Music?” – for private lessons and classroom use (Letter or Legal);
- “Music: The Eternal Art” – for other uses (Letter or Legal).
The documents are identical differing only in the title. Here is the version for students of music.
Why Study Music?
1. Music is a gift of God (MUSICA DEI DONUM).
Music was created by God for enjoyment and as the highest form of communication. “Where words fail, music speaks.” (Andersen) God uses music to proclaim His deeds, His love, His mercy, and His grace. Music is His greatest gift second only to the Word of God (Luther).
2. Music is art and beauty and points us to the Creator.
As the crown of His creation, God gave mankind the ability to create. Some are given the gifts of drawing and painting, some eloquence in prose or poetry, some elegance in dance and movement, and others the art of composing or performing music. These are the Fine Arts distinguishing them from the Applied or Technical Arts. The best of the arts allow us to glimpse the beauty of the created world which enriches us and points us back to the Creator of all things.
3. Music is life and culture.
Every culture throughout the world expresses their struggles, triumphs, joys, and sorrows through music. The best music of a culture builds and strengthens it. Experiencing and examining a culture through its music is a valuable way to learn about it.
4. Music is history.
Throughout history, people have expressed themselves through music. Studying historical music and historical events through music helps us understand the history of the world.
5. Music is language.
People sing songs in every language. Learning these songs helps us learn those languages.
6. Music is math and science.
Math is essential to reading, understanding, and composing music. Math and science also play essential roles in acoustics and the design and construction of musical instruments. As Pythagoras said, “There is geometry in the humming of the strings.” Music is mathematics in time (Boethius) which is why it is a part of the Quadrivium in Classical Education.
7. Music helps reading.
Reading music uses the same skills that help to develop and maintain literacy.
8. Music promotes physical and emotional health.
Singing or playing a musical instrument is a fine motor activity that requires the coordination of many parts of the body. Besides the many physical benefits, good music helps to develop and maintain brain function. It also releases endorphins that promote overall health and well-being.
9. Music is the “living voice of the Gospel” (VIVA VOX EVANGELII).
By singing the songs that God gave us in the Bible, we learn theology. By singing the songs and hymns of the faithful poets and composers of the past and present, we learn theology. By singing these songs, we become “the living voice of the Gospel” (Luther).
10. Music is for all ages and for all eternity.
People of all ages are richly blessed by good music. When the faithful die, they will join the Eternal Song “with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven.” It is the Eternal Art.
Martin Dicke – October 2022 (rev. May 2023)
© 2023 Martin P. Dicke. All rights reserved.
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