When Music Makes Character

Hardhats could fill the hallway of Hillcrest's music room, where students are finding music to be fun, but also informative, challenging, and yielding hard work. Mr. Bryant Bedwell is putting out a stream of capable music students as he turns the calendar on his second month in the Castle. 

Mr. Bedwell approaches each class with an whole arsenal of tricks and methods. His gentle demeanor is disciplined and firm. He is interested in preparing students for so much more than a concert.

Students sitting under Mr. Bedwell not only learn the mechanics of notes, but the nuances of dynamics, the interpretation of phrasing, and the rules of linguistics that are the language of music. If you were to visit any rehearsal, you would see young musicians sitting on the edges of their chairs, clapping out rhythms, humming parts, repeating measures as many times as it takes to get it right.

Last week, Mr. Bedwell sat with his concert band and read from Hebrews 12, “No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (vs.11)

“What key is this piece written in?” Mr. Bedwell calls out, identifying a student to answer his query after directing students to see the tie with hard work and discipline coming from Scripture. His finger pops in the air after receiving an answer. “Name the sharps,” he says, dotting an eye in the air as he addresses another student to give a response. 

This focus on music theory is indeed a stretch for a number of the students who have not formerly been asked to think this way. Mr. Bedwell is patient. He will rephrase his questions throughout the period to better communicate to his diverse class. The white board fills with diagrams as he gently leads students to bathe in the complexities of music. He wants his students to know why they are playing what they are playing.

Mr. Bedwell wants to train students to do what seems, at first, unpleasant. He aims to teach them to discipline themselves in order to enjoy the fruit later on. If anyone thought music would be a slough class, they were wrong with Mr. Bedwell. The most wondrous works of creation or art are  not accidents, but intentional and beautifully complex. Mr. Bedwell's approach is easily building character in these students. Hard work and discipline are showing students that music is much more than expression. It is a complex creation that points to a magnificent Creator and Director.

Dawn SynstelienComment