Recovering Music Education as a Christian Liberal Art by Dr. Joshua F. Drake
Dr. Drake, Joshua F. Recovering Music Education as a Christian Liberal Art. Mountain Home: BorderStone Press, LLC., 2010. 136 pp. $12.95. Purchase at Amazon for less.
Dr. Drake is a musicologist, hymnist and professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. He earned his undergraduate degree from Union University and a doctorate from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He is married with two sons.
Dr. Drake begins his work with a chapter on the wrong reasons to study music. After outlining those, he spends the next five chapters offering an apologetic for studying music as a liberal art. He does this from an unapologetic Christian perspective. The second chapter details the importance of music as a liberal art. Chapter three takes the position of music theory as general revelation as found in Romans 1—it, too, is enough to show your need for Christ, but not enough to save you from your sins.
Chapter four looks to the history of music as detailing God’s hand of providence in the world. Here, we see how God has communicated through history, specifically, musical history and how active listening (something many of us fail at today) is necessary for us to truly appreciate God’s providence even in the music we are listening to.
The fifth chapter looks at the various ways one can perform music as a liberal art. This is done through conducting, singing, and playing of instruments. The final chapter brings it all together and shows how music plays a role in one’s education through grammar, logic, and rhetoric.
At the end of each chapter is a helpful application of the concepts learned in the chapter.
This was an eye-opening, and sometimes confusing, book for me. I am not much of a musician though I did play the drums in grade school (more to annoy my parents than anything else!). I have taken introduction to music courses in college and trudged through it not having a clue as to its importance to my life other than needing the class to graduate. So, while there was much I had to look up and seek to understand more—Dr. Drake assumes a rudimentary knowledge of music that I do not possess—the information contained within these pages opened my eyes to a whole new understanding of the importance of music.
Dr. Drake roots everything in the Scripture. His ability to show how all of music can and should be understood as reflecting God’s glory is both refreshing and challenging. While there were terms I did not understand at first, I learned a great deal about a discipline for which I know nothing. I also recognized the truth that everything was created by God and one way we are to give God the glory is to be creative musically.
Recovering Music Education is one of those resources every Christian needs when entering college and taking their Intro to Music class. Furthermore, reading Recovering Music Education will help the Christian to redeem the finer qualities of music and enable them to point others toward the beauty and glory of Christ in everything including music. This resource will open your eyes to the underlying truths of music pointing toward the creator God.