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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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7 Embodiment as Locus of Aesthetic and Spiritual Musical Experience (Anchen Froneman)


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7 Embodiment as Locus of Aesthetic and Spiritual Musical Experience


During a musical performance, the musician is mainly engaged in activities relating to experiences of both music creation and evaluation. This two-way process implies that the musician experiences both the musical product as well as the music-making process. In recognising the nature of human experience present within the music performance activity, this chapter will contextualise the concepts of ‘aesthetic experience’ and ‘spiritual experience’ within a musical performance, drawing on related scholarship. As these experiences are considered being situated within embodied musical activity, the chapter will investigate the nature of these experiences with specific reference to the experiences of professional musicians during live chamber music performances. Holmes and Holmes (2012 p. 73) indicate that research on the subjective experiences of performing musicians ‘are still under-represented in literature’ and propose a qualitative research approach to study the experiences of the performing musicians. The concepts of embodied, aesthetic and spiritual musical experiences will consequently be investigated by means of a phenomenological inquiry into the performance-related experiences of four expert chamber musicians. ← 123 | 124 →

Embodied Musical Performance

For the purposes of this chapter, musical performance is related to the concept of ‘musicking’ as explained by both Small (1998) and Elliott (1995). To quote Small (1998 pp. 8–9):

The fundamental nature and meaning of music lie not in objects, not in musical works at all, but...

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