Why Study Music?

I am participating in a Charlotte Mason study group with Brandy Vencel at Afterthoughts Blog and the question came up after reading in Volume 6 - "What does music appreciation look like?"

I could write my own blog post on why I think music appreciation is important and what it looks like, but instead I would like to point you in the direction of an AMAZING book I just found!

The Title is "Music Talks With Children" and can be read here or listened to through Librivox here.

I would like to give my own narration on some of the sections of this book and then post the quote.  First, when we read the chapter "What the Face Tells" you can see a common idea that is in many of the CM volumes that not only should we understand what the PRACTICE is for our teaching, but what PRINCIPLE is being upheld through that practice.  I love that the idea of this first section - to be a student that diligently studies allows that student to be a light to others.  It also follows a similar theme to this article written about Charlotte Mason concerning "Breadth and Balance."
"And the light dwelleth with him."—Daniel II: 22.
Once a master said to a child:
"If thou wilt study diligently, learn, and do good unto others, thy face shall be filled with light."
So the child studied busily, learned, and sought how she could do good unto others. And every little while she ran to the glass to see if the light was coming. But at each time she was disappointed. No light was there. Try as faithfully as she would, and look as often as she would, it was always the same.
I do not know if she doubted the master or not; but it is certain she did not know what to make of it. She grieved, and day after day her disappointment grew. At length she could bear it no longer, so she went to the master and said:
"Dear master, I have been so diligent! I have tried to learn and to do good unto others. Yet every time I have sought in my face the light which you promised, it has not been there. No, not a single time."
Now the master listened intently, and watching her face as she spoke, he said:
"Thou poor little one, in this moment, as thou hast spoken to me, thy face has been so filled with light that thou wouldst not believe. And dost thou know why? It is because every word thou hast spoken in this moment has come from thy heart.
"Thou must learn in the first days this lesson: When the thought and the deed are in the heart, then the light is in the face, always, and it is there at no other time. It could not be. And what is in thy heart when thou art before the glass? In that moment hast thou turned away from diligence, and from learning, and from the love of doing good unto others and in thy heart there is left only the poor curiosity to see the light which can never shine when it is sought. Thou canst never see the light of thy own face. For thee that light is forever within, and it will not prosper thy way to want to look upon it. It is only as thou art faithful that this is added unto thee."
Sorrowing yet more than before the little child said:
"Master, I do not understand what thou hast said, yet I believe thee; but the wish is yet within me to see the light of my face, if only for once. Thou who art wise, tell me why it is denied me."
And the master made answer:
"It is denied to us all. No one may see the light of his own face. Therefore thou shalt labor daily with diligence that thy light shall shine before others. And if thou wouldst see the light thou shalt cause it to shine in another. That is the greatest of all—to bring forth the light. And to do this, thou shalt of thyself be faithful in all things. By what thou art thou must show diligence, the love for learning, and the desire to do good unto others, even as these things have been taught thee."

 The next section goes on to talk about "WHY" should we study music?  I have always been vocal on my belief that music appreciation should be presented to all people for the "aesthetic" quality.  As humans we must fill our lives with beauty!  I feel that Tapper does such a wonderful job writing these reasons and more in Chapter 2!  Here is the final section of the chapter:
In some of the Talks we are to have we shall learn that true music comes from a true heart; and that great music—that is the classics—is the thought of men who are pure and noble, learned in the way to write, and anxious never to write anything but the best. There is plainly a great deal of good to us if we study daily the music of men such as these. In this way we are brought in touch with the greatest thought. This constant presence and influence will mold our thoughts to greater strength and greater beauty. When we read the history of music, we shall see that the greatest composers have always been willing to study in their first days the master works of their time. They have strengthened their thoughts by contact with thoughts stronger than their own, and we may gain in just the same way if we will. We know now that there are many reasons why it is good for us to study music. We have spoken particularly of four of these. They are:
First, for the happiness it will give us.

Second, for the order it demands of us.

Third, for the power it gives us to help and cheer others.

Fourth, for the great and pure thought it brings before us and raises in us.

All these things, are they true, you ask? If the little child had asked that of the master he would have said:

"These things shalt thou find real because they make thee brave. And the pain and the drudgery and the hot tears shall be the easier to bear for this knowledge, which should be strong within thee as a pure faith."

That last section so perfectly fits with CM's principles to CARE about what we learn.  To instill positive HABITS in our lives, to develop a sense of OTHERS, and finally, to allow IDEAS to be born within us!

Tell me your thoughts if you read this book!  I will update with more of my thoughts as I finish working through the entire text!


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