Listen My Children and You Shall Hear

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Recently I received a compliment from one of my adult students that made me stop and think. I quote "Since I have been studying music with you I find I listen more to my music. I have discovered the fine art of listening to others as well."

This brought back words of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere." It was the first line that drew me in, "Listen my children and you shall here."Then it dawned on me that although the famous ride took place 233 years ago we in 2008 can learn a great lesson from these words.

One of the things we as people fail to do is really listen. What we hear and what we listen to are two different things. Oh, we hear noise, cars, kids, doors slamming, machines blaring and the hustle and bustle of the streets. But what are we listening to. We tell our children to listen to us, yet they fail to listen. Many parents close their ears to their misbehaving children and are content to go about their business failing to listen to their children screaming.

What has happened to take away one of the greatest gifts we have? Lack of listening ability, be it to great music or simple conversations, greatly diminishes our lives. Music gives us a place to develop the fine art of listening. This skill is essential and it has produced great scientists, doctors, musicians, lawyers, mathematicians and leaders.

Can you imagine a great film without a great film score? What about the commercials with familiar tunes that take us back in time. You recognize your favorite TV Shows by the theme music. Think, how important listening is to our lives.

Over the years I have had parents ask me what makes a great student or why one student stands out. Most of the time it is their ability to listen to the music. Would you believe students who study and listen to great music become better listeners and have superior cognitive skills? This is a proven fact. As an educator, I beg parents to spend some time just listening to their children. Children want to please their parents. If the parents don't listen, how can we expect the children to listen. While it may give great pleasure for me to teach listening skills, it is the music that seals the deal.

It would be beneficial to us all in this month of Thanksgiving if we practiced the fine art of listening. Through the practice of this skill we improve relationships with family members and friends alike. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. May the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Listen my children and you shall hear...."
resonate with you during this season of giving and may a whole new way of thinking appear in you life.