Brian Hamilton is a second-year Moore College student, who has undertaken the last two Emu Music Intensive subjects. Although he had to shuffle the normal configuration of subjects to do the intensives, the effort was well worth it for Brian. He says, “I’m just here in Sydney for these four years, so while I’m here I’m going to grab everything that’s available. And this is something I felt I couldn’t go past.” Before moving to attend Moore College, Brian worked as a music teacher and was actively involved in music at his church. The Emu Music intensives have been a unique opportunity for him to integrate his passion and skills in music with his future training for ministry.
“It’s a great opportunity to think practically and theologically about something that I care about. I care a lot about how music is done in church, and while I’m a student at college, I think that it would make sense for me to spend time studying that.”
Viewing church music in a new light
For Brian, having the subjects as intensives were a useful way to connect with the content. Having a week where it’s what you focus on, helped him to think deeply about what he was being taught.
In the first intensive, Music Ministry Leadership, Brian was struck by the core teaching that the “congregation is the main instrument.” He reflects, “This is a line that sticks in my head. I’d never quite put it into those words before it’s a good lens through which to view what you do in church music.”
Going into the second intensive, Church, Music & Worship, this was further explored by learning more about the horizontal and vertical nature of music in church. Brian says, “Thinking about the horizontal aspect of church music has been important as well. I’ve mainly thought about the vertical side of it – that we’re here to worship God and singing to worship God. But how our songs actually teach each other is important, and it’s not just about having something that I can sing to God that’s good enough.”
In addition to these bigger concepts, Brian also learnt a lot about the practical aspects of organising church bands, choosing songs and arranging services.
Music and the future of ministry
After college, Brian plans to work with university students in AFES ministry in Victoria. What he has learnt from Emu Music has opened his mind to the potential for music in campus ministry and beyond. He says, “I will use the training in organising music at campus conferences and events and in serving in church. But it’s also inspired me to do more with it. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but it’s made me want to make the most of this learning that I’ve had.”
Brian wishes more church leaders would have the training he’s received, saying, “I really hope that things they teach in these subjects for people who are interested in music can also be heard by the rest of my cohort and so forth, who might not be particularly musical themselves but are still going to be leaders in churches.