Music Pedagogy and the
Christian Faith: A Twenty-Year
Journey of Discovery
Charlotte Y. Kroeker
MY JOURNEY OF EXPLORING the relationship of faith to the teaching of music began as I was finishing doctoral work and starting to teach piano and music theory in a small Mennonite college in central Kansas. I taught my students what I had learned from my formal education—respect for the score, a sense of historical context, good habits of practice and interpretation, and knowledge of the repertoire. One day a student casually mentioned to me that she was going to play in church that Sunday. When I asked if she would like to play the piece for me, she said it did not matter, as it was "just for church." For this student, because it was "just for church," and "people don't really care what I play," the quality of the music as well as the quality of the performance apparently did not require further attention. I could not have been more shocked. Indeed, this was a defining experience in my professional life. What was I doing, or failing to do, that allowed a student to discredit her church music but take the study of Bach and Chopin very seriously? How could her commitment to serious music fail to be reflected in her practices of worship? Why had my teaching failed to convey to her the importance of music in Christian worship?
Twenty years later I continue to pursue the answers to these questions. During this period I have had the opportunity to see the intersection of the Christian faith and the field of music from