The Lord created man with the ability to make music by organizing sounds of varying pitch and volume into rhythmical patterns for vocal and instrumental reproduction. The entire creation echoes with the sound of music, but to man was given the ability to combine words with melodies. Man, like the angels in heaven, was created able to praise God rightly through music. The fall into sin, however, also turned music into a vehicle for rebellion against God. Music is restored to its rightful purpose through the renewal of life as the fruit of Christ’s work.
The initiative to praise God with music does not originate with man but with God Himself. He not only gives the command to sing: Praise the LORD! Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! He also determines what we are to sing: Now therefore, write this song, and teach it to the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 31). God’s people have to sing; it is part of that obedience which God requires of us in living a life of gratitude before Him. The spiritual song of the new man is not the property of the individual, but it is the gift of God to His people as a whole for His praise and for their instruction. For that reason, Paul exhorts the believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit; addressing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the LORD with all your heart (Ephesians 5:19).
The nature and purpose of music make it an important and necessary part of the instruction given at our school. Music instruction equips children with knowledge and skill to fulfill their task to praise God through music. As the children mature, they also have to be taught to discern the spirit of the age and to recognize the antithesis in the music of our time. Music is a powerful vehicle for God’s praise and glory; it is also a powerful vehicle for rebellion against Him. The music we sing and listen to at John Calvin School must be characterized by beauty and order so that God is not mocked and we are not led astray.