The Importance of Musical Education for Children

Leonid Gelbet conducting a youth orchestra.

Lately, God has been constantly drawing my attention to the importance of musical education as a part of raising our children. The more I have delved into the issue, the more I feel the need to support the idea of ​​developing a child as a person with a musical taste.

Being aware of the importance of this work, as a believer and a teacher, I find it necessary to share some of my thoughts.

In Israel, our blessed country, we truly do pay attention to those who really want and can play music. Namely, we have musical conservatories in about every city with a wide range of programs that teach children to play instruments and sing, there are music classes in public schools, as well as music lessons in after school programs.

Of course, everything that contributes to a child’s development and has a beneficial effect on the formation of his or her character is good and useful. Those parents who realize the importance of the issue and expose their children to music on a serious level are right. There is no doubt that some of these children come from believing families because many parents would like to see their children playing and praising God (Ps. 87:7).

For example, a few years ago I was a part of an initiate in cooperation with a Messianic congregation in Haifa to purchase musical instruments for children and start a music school, which we called Keshet haTzlilim (the Rainbow of Sounds). The program involved teaching the children to play the piano, violin, guitar, drums, wind instruments, as well as vocal lessons and group choir. When we began there were more than 30 children from different congregations who were studying at the school.

Generally speaking, the content of musical education reflects our priorities. The children are not just receiving a set of technical skills in the music classroom, but rather they should also learn about the Biblical and spiritual aspects that motivate us to engage in musical art form. Essentially teaching musicians to worship and glorify the Creator (Ps. 81: 2-5).

In another music program I have helped design and am currently involved, we put an emphasis on the importance of teaching believing children not only music, but also the principles of musical worship. We started music classes at our congregation in the Krayot (just north of Haifa), and have called this project Derekh haTzlilim (Through Sounds). The project combines music lessons for children with an explanation of the topics of worship and praise, which provides an in-depth theological teaching on this subject. Even though we have just begun, we already have 18 students, mostly children from immigrant families from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia.

I have been involved in music ministry in churches and congregations for a long time. Based of my personal experience, I think the emphasis on music education for children should be worshipping God, and I say this without underestimated the value of music as an art form. In other words, music should be considered as a part of worship, through which we draw near to God.

This approach to music brings us to a completely new level of education, which is fundamentally different from conventional, secular lessons. For this reason, I am absolutely convinced that it should not be a question of whether to teach our children music or not.

The Psalmist proclaims: “Sing to Him (God) a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy”. (Ps.33:3) This means: sing with skill and play with quality. Only when the spiritual teacher-musician connects with God musically on a personal and emotional level, then, without a doubt, this spirit “can rest” on his disciples too.

We pray that our Lord would grant wisdom and grace to expand this ministry and to bless and raise young, talented musicians. They are the future Levites of the New Covenant, devoted to praise and worship in spirit and truth. May our children become a source of joy and musical renewal for many people in the years to come.