Do you remember the very first song you learned to sing? I can’t swear for certain, but I think the first song I learned was “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine….” I remember my mother singing it to me as a very young child and once I learned it, I repeated it constantly. I suppose she grew tired of my limited repertoire, which soon also included an endless loop of “This land is your land, this land is my land….”

I don’t know why those were the first songs I was taught, but even though it’s been years since I’ve sung them, I now realize that I can still sing them from memory. The brain and music are fascinating partners. I’ve heard numerous accounts of those who are battling dementia later in life and can’t recall their own names, but can still join in singing songs from their childhood. It is as if the music of our childhood is at the very core of our own soul and being.

This week at Christ Church, our youngest singers once again begin rehearsals. The choristers learn to read music, match pitch, identify intervals, learn about composers and styles of music, rhythm, etc.  Young children also learn the value of working together as an ensemble but not in a competitive way. There is no competition or winners/losers, only the goal of doing one’s best. And, they will also learn about the spiritual tradition we are so blessed to inherit and preserve. I’m thankful that my parents instilled in me an early love for music, and although I realize that not every parent has the time or ability to offer music to his/her children, I hope this is one area where the church can assist. We are here to offer music lessons on a weekly basis at no charge.

I know children’s schedules are overflowing with all types of wonderful and engaging opportunities, but I do want to make a strong case for music as a lifelong gift. When one’s knees, eyes, and other body parts begin to fail, music can still be a great companion on life’s journey. One can enjoy music alone or with others. Do your child (and yourself) a favor, and sign up for choir!

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Feel free to share the first song you learned to sing in the comments below