Last week we started learning new music at The Special Gathering Vero and Melbourne choirs. I am the director of three of the six choirs at Special Gathering, a ministry within the intellectual disability community. Our choirs sing in local churches and during our chapel services. Our purpose in traveling to other congregations is to educate the church to the spiritual needs of people who are mentally challenged.
Trying to keep the choirs more interested in newer music, I often let them choose the new songs. Because our members memorize the music, it takes a bit longer to teach them the words and melody. Therefore I begin about three or four months before they will preform the songs. This new music contains the songs we’ll be singing in the summer and fall.
During the time we were going over the new selections, Anna kept wandering away in her mind. Lucy and Nancy were nodding off. Only Sheila was awake and perky during the half hour that we were rehearsing the new numbers. After we had sung the new pieces once, maybe twice, we jumped into the older music that we knew. Immediately, Anna was centered. Lucy and Nancy woke up with smiles. Their grins returned and they were laughing and happy to sing our older melodic friends.
When I went back to college as an adult, I was taught something that I had not previously learned at school. One professor lectured, “We all learn better in bits and pieces. A few minutes here and there; and we will absorb new information better than sitting down and cramming in one long stretch.” As a child, I didn’t make excellent grades. Therefore, I wasn’t considered a good student; but during those years, I did learn how to learn. In reality I wasn’t memorizing facts; but I was learning the essence of learning.
Each afternoon, I came home from school and did my written work while watching TV. When I was studying for tests, however, I did that while washing dishes or taking a shower. I was absorbing bits and pieces. In addition, because I was a more tactical learner, I would better able to associate and assimilate the facts I needed while doing another task. Sitting in a quiet room armed with only bare facts accomplished nothing except to pile unneeded stress on me.
If you are wanting to learn, it is important to take it easy. Take the time needed. The Bible tells us that we learn about God’s ways “line upon line, precept upon precept.” Turns out that all of us who learn, learn best the way God prescribed. It is interesting that Isaiah gave us this valuable information more than 2,400 years ago.