Christopher Dillon

Sharing Faith through Musical Work

Christopher Dillon and Charles Hulin, 2000

The following ideas came from a brain-storming session about how to witness in and around our music-making.

1. Perform works that are overtly Christian in their themes.

2. Be discriminating in repertoire choice. Ask yourself: Why would I perform/write this work? Will it be an edifying experience for those who will hear it?

3. If your teacher or colleague asks about your ideas regarding a piece of music, and your ideas involve things of the spirit, share them. This can be an opportunity to share how the work fits into your worldview. Sometimes, teachers and colleagues will shed new light on your ideas.

4. When faith plays a major role in how you make your musical and life decisions, be honest about it when teachers and colleagues ask.

5. As a teacher, you can study works with Christian texts.

6. As a student, you can ask for teachers to comment on the meaning of texts and their relationship to the music.

7. You can discuss the spiritual implications of music through with your audience members through program notes or speaking directly to them.

8. Playing “worship encores” can take the focus off of the performer and transition the audience from the excitement of performance to the holy callings of their daily lives. A worship encore is something modest that can be played with humility and with an attitude of worship.

9. Works that somehow reference evil might also point to God in a negative way. Notice how these suggestions of evil are worked out musically. Some works serve as critiques of the evil to which it seems they refer. Some works seem to collapse under the weight of their disturbing content. Other works, still,  may define something about God by outlining things that God is not. Through prayerful interpretation, the striking qualities of musical materpieces can be shared in broader contexts.  For example, while Wagner’s “Liebestod” has a very specific meaning in the drama of the opera, it might
also resonate with the beauty of a love that is divine and self-sacrificing.

10. Include your faith in your bio.

11. Do your work as unto Christ.

12. Do your work with joy, peace, and patience.

13. Look for opportunities to pray with teaching and performing colleagues.