Example #81 Singing and Humility

What if singing in unison were about humility and interdependence?

Susannah wanted to use her music lesson to help her class understand humility and interdependence. She was teaching singing in unison, which required pupils not to make their individual voices stand out but to work with others to create one sound.

"I brought in a range of fruits and got students to say what their different tastes and colours were and we tasted some (I checked for allergies first). We then tasted some smoothies made from the same fruits. It was different from the individual fruits. We used this as an analogy for singing in unison and how our voices sound different independently but they can blend together to make one sound.
 
"To sing in unison we have to be humble enough to not draw attention to ourselves. We need to work with others to create the sound. I gave the students fruit labels in groups (some had strawberry labels, others had apples or oranges, etc.) and we sang When the saints go marching in together. We had a sound checker who listened for the blended sound. It took several tries to get the sound properly blended. If one voice was too loud there would be a comment such as ‘I can still taste strawberries.’ This did not single out a particular child but referred to a group of students.
 
"We talked at the end of the lesson about being individuals but creating something good by working with others and how if we were too focused on making ourselves heard as individuals we had to change our attitude and not seek to draw attention to ourselves."

What’s going on here?

Susannah saw her music lesson as a way of nurturing interdependence and humility.

She engaged students in experiencing singing together and then reflecting on the experience together and its connection to values.

She reshaped her practice by using focus words and objects to set a new context for the lesson (fruit activity), changing her introduction, making explicit connections between singing, humility, and interdependence, guiding the class to interact in a specific way (singing together and working at harmony) and planning for discussion of the key idea.

How do I do this myself?

What does this have to do with faith, hope and love?

Humility is an act of faith: if I don’t draw attention to myself will anyone notice me? We have to trust others to encourage us if we do not blow our own trumpet. Humility is essential if we are to work together. It is not self-abasement, it is being realistic about ourselves and honouring the significance of others. Humility is the opposite of pride and boasting. Christian fellowship is built on interdependence, where each person is important and has different gifts to use for the good of the whole. The Bible likens this to a body where all parts are needed and work together (1 Corinthians 12:12).

What difference does it make?

Susannah’s class still learned the same singing skills, but they learned a lot more about working with others along the way, and saw that singing is connected to character. This is an example of doing the same thing differently to place it in a different context.

Where could we go from here?

Susannah could use these concepts in various parts of the music curriculum, for example, when learning about the orchestra. There are times when an instrument plays solo or its sound needs to be identified and there are times when it needs to blend with others to make a group sound.

Digging deeper

Faith grows in an interdependent community and is practised in community. Christ is the head of the community and all are dependent on him (1 Corinthians 12:22; Ephesians 1:22). St Paul uses the image of the body where all the parts work together and all depend on the head (1 Corinthians 12:12). Modern societies tend to stress the individual, and although this has brought a certain type of freedom, if exaggerated it can make it difficult for people to depend on each other, work together and feel a sense of belonging.
 
True humility is a generous attitude of mind that values others and sees oneself realistically. Jesus modelled humility throughout his life.
Humility is to make a right estimate of one's self. Charles Spurgeon
Humility makes us teachable (James 1:21). For this reason St Augustine, when asked what he thought were the three greatest virtues, replied: "Humility, humility, and then humility."
You wish to be great, begin from the least. You are thinking to construct some mighty fabric in height; first think of the foundation of humility. St Augustine

Explore similar examples:

What if a unit on plants highlighted the interconnectedness of creation?
What if music made children think about where creativity came from?
What if music helped children to show respect?
Print page
1My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts. 2I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk. 3Now I want you to know that if you are led by God's Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus. 4There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. 5There are different ways to serve the same Lord, 6and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do. 7The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. 8Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. 9To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick 10or the power to perform mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God's Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. 11But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us. One body with many parts 12The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. 13Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God's Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit. 14Our bodies don't have just one part. They have many parts. 15Suppose a foot says, I'm not a hand, and so I'm not part of the body. Wouldn't the foot still belong to the body? 16Or suppose an ear says, I'm not an eye, and so I'm not part of the body. Wouldn't the ear still belong to the body? 17If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn't hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn't smell a thing. 18But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best. 19A body isn't really a body, unless there is more than one part. 20It takes many parts to make a single body. 21That's why the eyes cannot say they don't need the hands. That's also why the head cannot say it doesn't need the feet. 22In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. 23We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, 24but we don't have to be modest about other parts. God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. 25He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. 26If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honoured, the whole body will be happy. 27Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. 28First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to perform miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages. 29Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can perform miracles. 30Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean. 31I want you to desire the best gifts. So I will show you a much better way. Love
1My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts. 2I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk. 3Now I want you to know that if you are led by God's Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus. 4There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. 5There are different ways to serve the same Lord, 6and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do. 7The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. 8Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. 9To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick 10or the power to perform mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God's Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. 11But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us. One body with many parts 12The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. 13Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God's Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit. 14Our bodies don't have just one part. They have many parts. 15Suppose a foot says, I'm not a hand, and so I'm not part of the body. Wouldn't the foot still belong to the body? 16Or suppose an ear says, I'm not an eye, and so I'm not part of the body. Wouldn't the ear still belong to the body? 17If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn't hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn't smell a thing. 18But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best. 19A body isn't really a body, unless there is more than one part. 20It takes many parts to make a single body. 21That's why the eyes cannot say they don't need the hands. That's also why the head cannot say it doesn't need the feet. 22In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. 23We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, 24but we don't have to be modest about other parts. God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. 25He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. 26If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honoured, the whole body will be happy. 27Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. 28First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to perform miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages. 29Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can perform miracles. 30Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean. 31I want you to desire the best gifts. So I will show you a much better way. Love
1From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. To God's people who live in Ephesus and are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. 2I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace! 3Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven! 4Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. 5God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God's own adopted children. 6God was very kind to us because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God. 7Christ sacrificed his life's blood to set us free, which means that our sins are now forgiven. Christ did this because God was so kind to us. God has great wisdom and understanding, 9and by what Christ has done, God has shown us his own mysterious ways. 10Then when the time is right, God will do all that he has planned, and Christ will bring together everything in heaven and on earth. 11God always does what he plans, and that's why he appointed Christ to choose us. 12He did this so that we Jews would bring honour to him and be the first ones to have hope because of him. 13Christ also brought you the truth, which is the good news about how you can be saved. You put your faith in Christ and were given the promised Holy Spirit to show that you belong to God. 14The Spirit also makes us sure that we will be given what God has stored up for his people. Then we will be set free, and God will be honoured and praised. Paul's prayer 15I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God's people. 16So I never stop being grateful for you, as I mention you in my prayers. 17I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. 18My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all God's people. 19I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used 20when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side in heaven. 21There Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well. 22God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything. 23The church is Christ's body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything. From death to life
1My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts. 2I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk. 3Now I want you to know that if you are led by God's Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus. 4There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. 5There are different ways to serve the same Lord, 6and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do. 7The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. 8Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. 9To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick 10or the power to perform mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God's Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. 11But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us. One body with many parts 12The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. 13Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God's Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit. 14Our bodies don't have just one part. They have many parts. 15Suppose a foot says, I'm not a hand, and so I'm not part of the body. Wouldn't the foot still belong to the body? 16Or suppose an ear says, I'm not an eye, and so I'm not part of the body. Wouldn't the ear still belong to the body? 17If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn't hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn't smell a thing. 18But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best. 19A body isn't really a body, unless there is more than one part. 20It takes many parts to make a single body. 21That's why the eyes cannot say they don't need the hands. That's also why the head cannot say it doesn't need the feet. 22In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. 23We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, 24but we don't have to be modest about other parts. God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. 25He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. 26If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honoured, the whole body will be happy. 27Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. 28First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to perform miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages. 29Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can perform miracles. 30Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean. 31I want you to desire the best gifts. So I will show you a much better way. Love
1From James, a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ. Greetings to the twelve tribes scattered all over the world. 2My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. 3You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. 4But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything. 5If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won't correct you for asking. 6But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm. 7If you are that kind of person, you can't make up your mind, and you can't be trusted. So don't expect the Lord to give you anything at all. Poor people and rich people 9Any of God's people who are poor should be glad that he thinks so highly of them. 10But any who are rich should be glad when God makes them humble. Rich people will disappear like wild flowers 11scorched by the burning heat of the sun. The flowers lose their blossoms, and their beauty is destroyed. That is how the rich will disappear, as they go about their business. Trials and temptations 12God will bless you, if you don't give up when your faith is being tested. He will reward you with a glorious life, just as he rewards everyone who loves him. 13Don't blame God when you are tempted! God cannot be tempted by evil, and he doesn't use evil to tempt others. 14We are tempted by our own desires that drag us off and trap us. 15Our desires make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead. 16Don't be fooled, my dear friends. 17Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens. He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing. 18He wanted us to be his own special people, and so he sent the true message to give us new birth. 19My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry. 20If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things that God wants done. 21You must stop doing anything immoral or evil. Instead be humble and accept the message that is planted in you to save you. 22Obey God's message! Don't fool yourselves by just listening to it. 23If you hear the message and don't obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror 24and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. 25But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don't just hear and forget. 26If you think you are being religious, but can't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless. 27Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil. Warning against having favourites