"'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' – that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know, " said John Keats in 1819 in his poem Ode on a Grecian Urn.
For our music students, truth & beauty are intertwined
If they are taking lessons voluntarily, it is because they wish to MAKE BEAUTY.
And that is why WE TEACHERS do music, and teach music.
We do music because music is, in some way to us, BEAUTIFUL.
But the darkness is growing
A trend of increasing UGLINESS...
is being thrust upon our children and students.
In a Wall Street Journal article called "Darkness Too Visible", Meghan Cox Gurdon stirred up a hornet's nest by taking book publishers to task for an ever-increasing number of ugly and uglier books, using relevance as an excuse to feed shock and swill to young readers.
She discussed "the increasingly dark current that runs through books classified as YA, for Young Adult—books aimed at readers between 12 and 18 years of age—a subset that has, in the four decades since Young Adult became a distinct category in fiction, become increasingly lurid, grotesque, profane, sexual, and ugly...
"No family," she says, "is obliged to acquiesce when publishers use the vehicle of fundamental free-expression principles to try to bulldoze coarseness or misery into their children's lives." *
Her original article can be found at The WSJ, and a second article describing the backlash and resentment against her first article can be found in a July 2013 article of Imprimus called The Case for Good Taste in Children's Books.
Our musical choices matter
I agree with Ms. Gurdon. We are shaping the tastes of young children with the choices of reading and even musical material we offer them.
Piano method music tends to be a pretty safe field for young ones!
Watch out for popular music
However, the vocal music young singers and guitar players wish to do are frequently age-inappropriate. They are being sexualized too young.
A desire to fortify our children and students against the harshness of life may impel us to feed them a diet of nails and scorpions, so to speak, to steel them against the horrors which they may eventually encounter.
Let them celebrate what is good
Particularly in the world in which we live, where, as Haldir the elf says (in "The Fellowship of the Ring") of the growing darkness of the times,
"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."
They do need to be warned and instructed... but they also need to know that "there lies the dearest freshness deep down things", as poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote in "God's Grandeur":
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with
ah! bright wings.
Do your students know that light will overcome the darkness?
Childhood should be a time of wonder, and beauty. Help your students find music that is more than relevant, music that is timeless and BEAUTIFUL.
*The Case for Good Taste in Children's Books, Imprimis July 2013
Interested in songs from the Bible for your students or church? Check out my other website, SingTheBibleStory.com!
Fiddle sheet music for beginners from Scotland "Ale is Dear" arranged for violin trio! This free & EASY ensemble is catchy and fun to play!
Deep in the Heart of Texas, sheet music for piano duet partners. EASY primo and accessible secondo with bouncy chords make this a VERY FUN DUET!
Beginner piano songs for young kids are even EASIER when the tune is familiar, and the words are fun or even silly! "Found a Peanut" fits the bill.
God is So Good lyrics and sheet music, now with two new versions. This simple and sweet hymn is perfect for beginning musicians.
The Ants Go Marching lyrics & sheet music for beginning piano. This lead sheet is EASY to read, with a single melody line and chord symbols. Very fun!
Chopsticks music is easy to play by rote - incorrectly! Sharpen up your students' abilities with duet & solo sheets showing chords & accurate melodies.
Storybook Love - Mark Knopfler's "The Princess Bride" movie soundtrack music is one of the prettiest movie themes ever. Now in the key of Am/C as well as Bm/D!
What Do You Do with a GRUMPY (or Drunken) Sailor, now with an EASY lead sheet! Free printable piano music that may be your student's favorite for a long time!
The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies is an exciting song for your singers! Your piano players will like it too. It is an old song, with a catchy melody easy to learn.
Easy piano sheet music FREE, The Snake Charmer, now with an easier-to-read arrangement just for young, socially distant students! Mysterious-sounding & FUN.
Queen Esther in the Bible
This beautiful song book for piano & voice "Esther, For Such a Time as This", available as a digital download, tells the riveting story of the attempted genocide of the Jews in ancient Persia, and the brave young queen who risked her life to change the king's mind and save her people.
A good choice for a singing story-teller, an operatic group, a short theatre production, or a class of Sunday School children!
This book is also available from Amazon as a paperback.
Just the Black Keys
This book is available as a digital download from this site. Visit this page to see some free examples from the book.
It is also available from Amazon as a paperback!
This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.
And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!" They will be spending more time at the piano.
The Adventures of Tonsta
A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls.
The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.
With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.
Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!
Available at Amazon
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About the Author
Hi, I'm Dana! (Say that like "Anna".) I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.
Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.
You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.