Music gives us a way to communicate where words fail. Countless times we are “stuck for words” or we exclaim “I just can’t describe it!” It is music that knows no language barrier, and it is music that speaks to the soul. Have you ever tried to watch a movie without the sound? Sure, you can read the captions, but what about the music? The plot is boring. The bad guy has no suspenseful entry. The ending has no climactic resolution. There is something missing…music.
Music has been my life for…my whole life! I was born into a Music Pastor’s family where my dad taught choirs and bands in local high schools and directed church choirs and orchestras. My musical journey began at age 4. I don’t remember a conversation to decide this, I just know that this is what happened and this is what continued. There were no questions. There were no options. There was only commitment. Only commitment and sacrifice. Only commitment and sacrifice and outcome. There were struggles. There were accomplishments. There were tears. There were triumphs. There were failures. For both me and my parents. But my parents did not quit. More important, they did not allow me to quit.
Would you quit speaking English just because it got difficult, or because you accidentally said the wrong word, or because you failed a spelling quiz? No! You would fix it; learn from it; grow. Sure, there are some people who are more fluent than others in the spoken language. Your only job is to steward your language!
Years passed. Violin lessons continued. More years passed. College and master’s degrees were earned. Now, as a music teacher, I often get asked, “How early is too early for my child to begin music lessons?” or, “Is it too late for my child to learn an instrument?” The truth of the matter is, music is a language. Just as we learn to speak, read, and write in our native language, so we should learn to speak, read, and write in the musical language. A former President of the United States stated, “Music is about communication, creativity, and cooperation, and, by studying music in school, students have the opportunity to build on these skills, enrich their lives, and experience the world from a new perspective.”
So, my advice to the young and old? Learn the language…even if it is only a little part of the language. You have the opportunity to communicate with people around the world. You have the opportunity to create an audible masterpiece. You have the opportunity to cooperate with a powerful, effective tool!