What’s in a Song?

What’s in a Song?

Roughly a year ago, reporters latched onto a story about a primary school in one of the most deprived and densely populated neighbourhoods of Bradford. What was special about the school was the massive turn-around they had achieved – from being under special measures, to being rated ‘good’ by Ofsted. It is now in the top 10% of schools in England for progressing students in reading, writing and mathematics. 

The reason given for their success is music. The headteacher, Naveed Idrees, started incorporating 6 hours of music lessons a week into their curriculum.

Of course, music and songs have long been used as a tool by teachers and therapists alike. Not only do the words of songs easily stick in our head, but played to music they can impact our emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. Long before Idrees introduced music to his school, God himself used music as a means of teaching and guiding His people.

Deuteronomy 32 is a song that God gave to Moses to teach to the people of Israel. Moses was about to die and God asked him to commission Joshua. Joshua was to be the one who would take up the baton and lead God’s people into the promised land.

At this time, God informed Moses that once Israel was secure in the promised land, they would stop following God’s commands. But God had one final act for Moses to perform that would help bring the Jewish people back to God. He commanded Moses to teach them a song that would ‘live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring’ and serve ‘as a witness’ for God (Deuteronomy 31:19,21).

The song described God’s character and all that he had done for Israel. It went on to warn what would happen if they turned away from Him. And finally it detailed what would happen when Israel turned back.

Songs can be so important in helping people remember who God is and how they should respond to Him – both in larger gatherings and in the home. In particular, Deuteronomy 32 has reminded me how effective songs can be when we are trying to teach children about the things of God.

Each morning, before I start school work with the children, we have a time of ‘family worship’. We read a story from the Bible, learn a little about church history, and then we each take turns to pray. Normally, we would then sing a couple of children’s worship songs, accompanied with instruments – maracas and the like!

Before I came across this story in Deuteronomy, our singing time had got to a point that left much to be desired. Sometimes, if we were busy, it would be forgotten completely. Otherwise we sang one or two of the same songs quickly and half-heartedly.

But singing joyfully to the Lord is so important. In fact, Colossians 3:16 encourages us to teach one another (adults and children) the message of Christ through song.

Our singing time has now had a new lease of life. Each day we sing a variety of songs, with actions and instruments, and all the children really enjoy it. I’ve also started playing more Christian children’s music during meal and play times. 

Here is a list of some of our favourites. If you have a favourite Christian children’s song, please add it to the comments below.

Wide wide as the ocean

Lord I lift your name on high

Who’s the king of the jungle

The wise man built his house upon the rock

If I were a butterfly

The Rizers – various

The fruit of the spirit

Jesus loves me

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4 Replies to “What’s in a Song?”

  1. Seek ye first the kingdom of God
    I am the way, the truth and the life
    There are hundreds of sparrows

    1. Thanks Bekah, I’ve enjoyed checking out CJ and friends. I hadn’t come across that channel before. I’m sure Beatrice will love to dance along to the worship videos!

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