music+memorization=GENIUS

 

Psalm-Justus-Jonas

 

Lately, I've been working on study skills workshops for several classes. Our students struggle to manage time, organize their materials, and (most importantly) recall the information they cram into their brains the night before a test.

I think these things are universal, but my job is not to figure out how similar are the struggles... I want to encourage the students to push through! In the process of all my searching (I didn't have all those education courses, so it's all new to me), I found some amazing resources.

I got so excited about this "Periodic Table of Elements" song that I showed it to everyone who came into my office (and some who happened to be standing outside!). Then, I started to look up more about this man, Tom Lehrer, who set all kinds of information to music. Two things made me love this: 1) learning happens 2) music happens.

After all my rambling about the beautiful gift and calling to THINK, I've been more aware of how thinking happens around me. How do the students think? How does the staff think? How do I think? What is my purpose, my methods, my result?

As I watched this video, I couldn't help but make connections. We are made with minds to think and to seek knowledge. This, from the recent Desiring God National Conference,

"Knowledge that is loveless is not true knowledge. It’s imaginary knowledge, no matter how factual it is: 'If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God' (1 Corinthians 8:1-3)

Knowing as we ought to know is a knowing for the sake of loving. Loving God and loving people." -J. Piper

So, if our knowledge - the true kind - has something other than empirical (numbers and words on pages with red grades glaring up top) implications, then maybe our 'knowing' must come about in a way that remains in our life after gradebooks close.

And for this reason, I love that our "knowing for the sake of loving" can come about as it did for David... through music. He wasn't memorizing God's attributes on a list so he could spit them out at the end of the week and move on to the list of God's commands. No, as David was singing and playing and creating, he was hiding God's Word in his heart.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.  With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!  I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.  Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes!  With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.  In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.  I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.  I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:9-16 ESV)

I love this.

I love that even the process we choose to seek after knowledge can reflect our love for the Lord and can more firmly set the knowledge into our hearts. How many times have you praised God through the words in Psalms? When we set out to find our very strength in the Word, it becomes more than just memorization. It becomes bread.

Here's a little example of Tom Lehrer in action.