Music has been identified as one of the rich heritages of the Seventh-day Adventist church. It has always been a veritable tool for evangelism. However, in recent years, the world church has seen a decline in the interest and practice of singing hymns. To add to this, many Adventist schools do not offer music as a school subject/course or have to rely on non-Adventist teachers that know little about SDA musical culture and tradition.
Music is important in our churches and in our educational institutions because it not only conveys our culture as Seventh-day Adventists, but it also helps students to gain an understanding of how music plays a role in creating an ambiance of worship. In particular, hymns often have solemn and contemplative moods which lend toward a time of quiet reflection and communion with God.
Unfortunately, not all unions have an established department within the church’s administration that is directly responsible for music ministry/administration within the church. Moreover, in these unions without an established department, the church’s administration does not have budgetary allocation for music ministry of the church that will sufficiently cater for the employment of resident choirmaster/musician for the various churches and able Adventist teachers for its schools, especially at the primary and secondary school levels.
As Adventist educators, we need to recognize the value of our musical heritage and its role in worship and in individual and collective spiritual life. Here are some suggestions:
- The church’s administration through its unions and conferences establish a music department coordinated by a trained/experienced music director that will create definitive standards guiding the operation and ministration of music within the schools and churches.
- The established music ministry as part of its oversight functions should organise periodic music workshops for music teachers and choir/music directors.
- The administration should be intentional about the inclusion of music in the curriculum of its schools, especially at the primary and secondary school levels. This will help to develop a sound musical judgment and appreciation and ultimately awaken interest in music scholarship/career. The church’s administration can also do well by providing scholarship for interested members who wished to study music formally.
- Finally, the church’s administration should provide sufficient budgetary allocation that will cater for the employment of resident choirmaster/musician for its churches and Adventist music teachers for its schools.
Could it be time to re-examine our educational approach to preserving this heritage?