Throughout the Bible, God’s people sing when their hearts are overflowing with the joy of God’s goodness. “Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre” (Psalm 81:1-2). Through music and singing, we learn a joyful way to express love for God.
Here are some ways you might encourage your child to enjoy and receive the rich benefits of music.
■ Singing introduces infants to more variety of sound and expression than the talking voice can do. Sing fast and slow, give ranges of high and low notes; allow your facial expressions to give life and animation to your singing.
■ Sing your favorite hymns and ones you know your child will one day sing with friends at church.
■ Do not succumb to the notion a baby is too young to appreciate “good” music. Listen together to all kinds of music, and introduce your child to hymns and worship songs with inspiring lyrics and melodies.
■ Use musical activities to play games. Move arms and legs to music; sing and participate in circle games.
■ Introduce musical instruments – a homemade drum, shaker or horn. (Use some caution to be sure young, developing ears are not damaged.) Help him touch the keys of a piano or keyboard, and enjoy the sounds that come out.
■ Help your child learn the words to traditional hymns at home. Sing repeatedly during the day and at bedtime familiar ones such as “Jesus Loves Me,” “Trust and Obey” and “Away in a Manger.”
■ Encourage your child’s participation in the church worship service. Whisper just before the singing starts, “The name of this hymn is ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’ You can sing those words with us.” Affirm any attempt your child makes to sing.
■ Sing the blessing before meals. Let your child pick and sing a favorite “Jesus song” before mealtime or bedtime prayers.
■ Help organize a preschool choir as part of a Sunday school program. Encourage the choir director to teach children the single stanzas or refrains of great hymns.
With school-age students
■ Be informed about the music presented in your student’s school’s curriculum. What is the atmosphere? Is it encouraging, fun and taught with variety? May all students participate rather than singling out the most gifted and talented? Is there a volunteer program through which you can help and participate?
■ Attend musical presentations in your community.
■ Support and express positive appreciation for the music at your church. Attend together a variety of musical presentations.
■ Teach your student to sing along with the projected or printed words. Encourage even the beginning reader to sing some of the words of each hymn or song.
■ Play music at home. Choose classical or instrumental music as a quiet background occasionally during meals. Favorite worship songs, hymns or movie musical tunes can make bath time especially fun.
■ Do not ever criticize, even lightheartedly, the vocal ability of a student or an adult. One thoughtless comment can cause a lifelong stigma regarding singing.
■ Let your student hear the congregation, worship team or choir sing at church. Encourage him to join the youth worship team or choir.
■ Give her a chance to hear and see a variety of instruments performed at church. Encourage her to join the church band or orchestra.
— Excerpt from Bible Study Fellowship’s Home Training Lesson (Revelation Lesson 11)