Last week we began to learn about 16th notes in music – those rapid-fire, percussive notes that get students really excited. Their hands tense with anticipation as we clap out patterns of quarter notes, eighth notes, and those much-loved quadruplets. But, I really love telling students about my favorite note, the most powerful force in all of music. I love the rest.
A rest is defined as a measured break in sound. Those silent moments in music help us hear the melodies and harmonies we so much love.
Teaching children to love the rest helps students understand the intricacies that are found in all of music. We are currently learning Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” Even as you hear the opening notes in your head, you also hear those moments of pause, of silence, of anticipation. Those moments propel the music forward, arouse our interest, and accentuate the true joy of those victorious “Hallelujahs!”
As we learn about the importance of rests in good music, we learn that God has placed the idea of rest in the middle of our lives, too. Of course, each day we need physical rest. But even more than that, we need spiritual rest. Isaiah 30:15 tells us, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust in your strength.” Each day as we teach our children, we must point them to this true rest, this eternal comfort, and this only source of joy. Only then can we properly move forward to truly learn, sing, play, and live.