In Experiential Learning, Students

Music student Erica Peterson shares how an experiential learning opportunity has enhanced her time at BYU

I believe in expressing the deep feelings of my soul. In my life I have done this through speech, writing and music, and all have been equally powerful at different moments. Yet one of these — music — both expresses and professes the profound truths I know more consistently and beautifully than anything else.

This spring, I had the opportunity to go on BYU’s Church History Travel Study for six weeks and learn on-site and in-depth about the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I can honestly say that this was a life-altering experience. While on the trip, I asked one of our professors if I could organize and put on a musical fireside by and for our group, and he readily agreed. About 10 students participated and performed holy, sacred music, including pieces such as “How Great Thou Art” and “Savior, Redeemer of My Soul.” I arranged and performed, with a friend who is a violinist, “I Believe in Christ” for piano and violin. This night was not originally part of the plan for the travel study, but it ended up as one of my favorite memories from the trip. I felt God’s divine and perfect love for me so strongly through the beautiful expressions of music that my friends and classmates played.

As a music composition major, I have had some experience in the logistics behind organizing and putting on concerts and recitals, but this was the first time I had the experience of doing the entire thing from the idea through to the performance. It was a close and intimate setting, but I still found it very valuable in learning how to set up and run an event. I found it especially valuable as it relates to sacred music. In my future church callings and life in general, I hope to be able to continue to feel divine truth through music and facilitate the Spirit for others through music. I hope to be able to set up musical firesides in the future, like this one, to share those truths and express the feelings of my soul and the love I have for my Lord and my God. I believe that God has inspired people through the centuries to create music to bring people closer to Him, and I hope to be merely an instrument in His hands toward this end.

The publication of student articles allows the College of Fine Arts and Communications to highlight the experiential learning opportunities and behind-the-scenes experiences of students and faculty and tell stories with a unique voice and point of view. Submit your story at cfac.byu.edu.

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