Student violinist shares how she uses her musical talent to bring honor and glory to the Lord

Stewarding her musical gifts for the Lord is how junior Mary Ruth Williams, a violin performance major, has been working toward her dream of teaching aspiring musicians.

According to Williams, this means using her musical talent to glorify the Lord and the Lord alone. 

Williams first began playing the violin at age 9, using a hand-me-down violin from her mother, who played the instrument throughout high school. Williams’ introduction to violin jump-started her passion for music, propelling her determination to hone her skills and dedicate countless hours to her craft.

“My mom always said that she never had to tell me to practice,” Williams said. “I would just do it on my own.”

In grade school, Williams joined the Virginia Tech String Project, a university program designed to provide musical mentorship to the community and equip music education undergraduates with the necessary teaching skills to succeed. Four years into her membership, Williams began taking private lessons.

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Williams credits her music teachers for helping to nurture her passion for the violin, leading to her decision to pursue music professionally.

Before coming to Liberty University, Williams had several opportunities to play, including her first orchestral experience in the Roanoke Youth Symphony Orchestra and performances at private weddings and other celebrations. She had also been a substitute musician in the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to playing in the Liberty Symphony Orchestra, Liberty Honors Quartet ensemble and pit orchestras for Tower Theater operas, Williams was invited to participate in Liberty’s Fall 2023 production of “Cinderella” as part of the pit orchestra. She also participates yearly in the Night of Worship event at Thomas Road Baptist Church.

If one thing is for certain, Williams lives and breathes music.

“It’s a craft, and it’s a skill, and it’s an art,” Williams said. “There’s so much … technical challenge to it, but there’s also so much expression.”

Williams said pursuing music is what God has called her to do. 

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“I think that what keeps me motivated to keep practicing is (that) the Lord gave me this opportunity, and it’s something that I can’t just let slip through my fingers,” Williams said. “I have to steward it well, … (and) I think the Lord can use music to communicate so much.”

While Williams loves performing, her plan for her future in music leans toward education. 

“You’d think that I would be performing long-term, and that is definitely something I want to do and something I’m passionate about, but my (true) passion, I think, is (teaching) next-generation musicians,” Williams said.

After graduating from Liberty, Williams plans to pursue a master’s degree and a doctorate in performance so she can be fully equipped to teach music students. She also hopes to teach university students and hold private lessons out of her own studio one day.

Above all else, Williams wants to use her passion for music to serve the Lord — to perform for an audience of one.

“I think (music) can be used to glorify the Lord through the heart posture we play it with,” Williams said. “There are so many different genres of music, and I think so often we can be like, ‘I don’t like rap’ or ‘I don’t like country,’ … but all of these (genres) are ways we can use music to glorify the Lord.”

Goforth is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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