Whether you’re considering Providence for your child, or trying to get to know us as a family or friend of the school, you may wonder what kind of music program we have and what makes it unique.
The Westminster catechism says that the “chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever,” and we at Providence make every effort to teach children music as a means to worship and glorify their Creator. Psalm 100:1 commands all of God’s children to “make a joyful noise” to Him. In Psalm 33:3 we are told to sing a new song to God and “play skillfully.” At Providence, we encourage everyone to unashamedly lift their voices to God, regardless of ability. But we do not stop there. We also seek to enrich our students’ experience of worship by teaching them to play and sing with growing skill. We encourage students to develop their ability to make an excellent and pleasing sound to God for His pleasure, as well as their own and that of others. From this perspective, we choose music that we hope will edify and strengthen the body of Christ. Our goal is that students will become intimately acquainted with the vast body of sacred music so that they will have a rich library of songs, hymns, and spiritual songs to utilize in private and corporate worship throughout their lives.
Since Providence’s inception, music has existed as part of the core curriculum for Christian, classical education. Just as we believe that children must be educated in the trivium (grammar, dialectic and rhetoric), we also incorporate musical training so that students are able to skillfully and creatively express themselves as they grow. In the grammar years, students learn rhythm and pitch through familiar folk and sacred songs of America and other countries. As students continue on to secondary education the training they receive will continue to provide a foundation for life-long musical growth.
Our music education is modeled after the ideals of Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967). We agree with his reasoning as to the value of educating children in music:
“Teach music and singing at school in such a way that it is not a torture but a joy for the pupil; instill a thirst for finer music in him, a thirst which will last for a lifetime. Music must not be approached from its intellectual, rational side, nor should it be conveyed to the child as a system of algebraic symbols, or as the secret writing of a language with which he has no connection. The way should be paved for direct intuition…. Often a single experience will open the young soul to music for a whole lifetime. This experience cannot be left to chance; it is the duty of the school to provide it.”
This principle – teaching the joy of music through the use of well-crafted repertoire so that children may enjoy music for a lifetime – guides our teaching standards through every grade level.
Providence students participate in choral music from pre-kindergarten through 11th grade: during the students’ senior year choir is an elective. This year, for the first time, we are also offering a beginning band for 4th-6th grade students. In years to come, we hope to expand the instrumental program to older grades and gradually add more classes to our music program. Watch the Providence website for details regarding our annual Christmas concert on December 17th. We look forward to meeting you very soon!