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Spirituality and Music Education

Perspectives from Three Continents


Edited By June Boyce-Tillman

This book is the product of a long journey by a company of academics and practitioners sharing a common interest, titled the Spirituality and Music Education Group (SAME). It started at the International Society for Music Education Conference in Bologna in 2008, with its first gathering in Birmingham in 2010. This book is a product of the various meetings of this group. Since the group formed, the notion of spirituality has been struggling to find a way through the dominant ideology of secularisation in the West to a place in a post-secularising world.

This book concentrates on examining this issue from the position of music educators on three continents. This process can be defined as both separate from as well as part of the dominant Christian and humanist traditions, whatever is appropriate in a particular culture. The book represents a fascinating array of lenses through which to examine the many and complex strands within the concept of spirituality.

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1 Shovelling Fog: Introducing Spirituality (June Boyce-Tillman)


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1 Shovelling Fog: Introducing Spirituality

This book is the product of a long journey by a company of academics and practitioners sharing a common interest. In an International Society for Music Education (ISME) conference in Bologna in 2008, discussions about Spirituality and Music Education (SAME) were started. It was a conversation that was happening in many areas at that time – work, health, religion, culture and industry (Fuller 2001; De Quincy 2002; Zohar and Marshall 2004; Wuthnow 2005; Nelson 2005; Boyce-Tillman 2007a; Hyers 2007; McLaren 2010; Wigglesworth 2012; De Botton 2012; Williams 2012). In The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality (2005), Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead see the rising interest as an effort by Western culture to respond to Nietzsche’s assertion at the end of the nineteenth century that God is dead. There was a deep sense of loss, a sense that without God we are bereft of something.

The beginning of the twenty-first century was also marked by the events of 9/11. A New Age had certainly begun. The model of secularisation that had characterised the late twentieth century was challenged by an event that told the world that if religion was not part of the solution to war it would certainly be part of the problem. This produced confusion in the secular culture, which resulted in a rising interest in spirituality. Charles Taylor, in his significant text entitled The Secular Age (2007), charts the...

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