Forum 2019: 'beyond excited to go back to university to study music!'
Before going to Forum 2019, I had little to no idea of what to expect from the week. I knew there would be lots of great teaching and time of worship, and I was excited to go back to Durham feeling more equipped for mission in my Christian Union. What I didn’t expect was that I’d have a special opportunity to meet up with other musicians from conservatoires and universities from around the country in the Music Network seminars, nor did I anticipate leaving Forum encouraged to think deeper about my music studies and what difference being a Christian makes specifically to the life of a music student.
Thinking God's thoughts after Him in music
While all the seminars and talks were inspiring and useful, I was particularly struck by the ‘Being a Christian Student’ series alongside the Music Network seminars. I realised that being a Christian student meant far more than merely working diligently for the glory of God and being a witness in my department (as important as that is), but that even the most obscure essay topics were opportunities to think God’s thoughts after Him and pursue creativity and truth in my subject. In one of the Music Network seminars, examples of essay topics were given with details of how we could be bringing God’s truth, and a unique musicological perspective, into our essays, even when having to engage with highly controversial theories. It left me feeling excited to engage more deeply with these concepts, to bring a godly perspective to a university that is largely Biblically illiterate, and not to shy away from topics that are seemingly ‘unchristian’.
Furthermore, as we thought about how to reach out specifically to other musicians, we had some time to geek-out (for want of a better term), showing off our knowledge (or lack thereof) in a classical music pub quiz, and making graphic scores with our bodies that were expertly interpreted on the saxophone. Engaging in such niche musical activities made me feel right at home. I’m excited to take these ideas back to university in the hopes that many musicians will get to hear about Jesus through events that are unique and relevant to them.
'I can glorify and enjoy Him as I study.'
Overall, the encouragement and advice given in the music seminars was immensely invaluable. I will definitely be taking back the practical advice regarding ways in which we can invite God into our practice time, so that we can grow in intimacy in our relationship with our Father and Creator. Furthermore, hearing from musicians still working in the industry made me think about what following a career in music might look like as a Christian and the freedom that following Jesus gives us as we pursue them.
I came away from Forum not only feeling equipped and excited for mission in the CU and my personal life, but also feeling beyond excited to go back to university to study music. Realising that engaging with even the most obscure parts of musicology brings glory to God, the creator of everything, has inspired me to delve even deeper into my subject this year – to pursue creativity and truth so that I can glorify and enjoy Him as I study.