From my earliest childhood remembrances, music filled our home. My mother was an accomplished pianist who began to play the piano at about six years of age. As her talent developed, her practice sessions increased to two, three and four hours a day. By age 13, she was tutored at the local college conservatory of music and gave public recitals; and, she caught the attention of and was encouraged to continue her musical development by the Dean of the Julliard Conservatory of Music in New York. After high school, she attended and studied music at two major universities. Although she could have pursued a professional career as a pianist, she fell in love and married my father after the Second World War.
Mother continued her musical endeavors by teaching children’s piano lessons in our home for over 45 years. She also played hymns, special music and offertory music for church services, accompanied the church choir, quartette, many soloists and instrumentalists, and played for numerous weddings. Many evenings I fell to sleep in my third floor attic bedroom while listening to her practice late into the evening. Somehow the works of Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Beethoven and many others floated up the first, second and third floor stairways into my bedroom to comfort and lull me to sleep. And, in her senior years, Mother would sometimes pause and occasionally stumble over a key or two while playing a favorite song; one which, no doubt, was played as she remembered my father.
The Bible has many references to music. Some referenced instruments are the cymbal, flute gong, harp, lute, lyre, pipes, tambourines, trumpet, zither and strings. Many highly skilled instrumentalists served with their instruments in giving thanks and praises to God. But, not all music was instrumental. There were many singers who also contributed to worshipping God, including many women singers (Ezra 2:65; Ecclesiastes 2:8; Nehemiah 7:66–67).
Today, many musically gifted women are able to use their musical talent to serve in church services. I recently heard a woman play the harp. As she strummed and plucked the harp strings the notes seem to take flight and fill the room with melodies. And, there are many gifted women who have beautiful voices; they can sure hit those high notes! In addition, there are talented women pianists who play hymns, accompany congregational and children’s choirs, and play special music and offertory music. There also are flutists, violinists and guitarists. It is obvious that they have diligently practiced many hours to perfect their musical skills, and have given careful thought to selecting appropriate music with which to praise God and serve the brethren. They are to be commended for their dedication, sacrifice and service (Psalm 33:1–3).
Of course, not everyone is a talented instrumentalist or has a gifted voice. Most of us are more like Miriam in the Old Testament, who along with many other women sang songs of praise to God after the Exodus (Exodus 15:20–21). All of us can participate in congregational singing. I love to sing hymns! Children love to sing, too! Congregational singing and children’s choirs are wonderful ways to teach children how to praise God (Ephesians 5:18–19).
Music is one of the special ways in which we express our joy, thankfulness and worship to God, whether it is with song or with an instrument. It seems to prepare the heart and mind for the receipt of God’s Word by chasing away the concerns that linger in the back of the mind, or softening the heart from life’s offences. We are privileged to have many musically talented women who fulfill this wonderful godly purpose.