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Spirituality and Music Education

Perspectives from Three Continents


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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8 Spirituality in Parent–Infant Musical Communication: An Integrative Literature Review (Gerda Pretorius)


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8 Spirituality in Parent–Infant Musical Communication: An Integrative Literature Review


This chapter aims to link spirituality with the intuitive behaviour of the parent–infant dyad when they ‘talk’ in a ‘musical way’ by using the communicative system commonly known as baby-talk. I argue that the everyday bi-directional encounter between parent and infant constitutes an appropriate framework for purposes of early music acculturation, as well as the occasion for spontaneous spiritual experience. Parents’ appreciation and understanding of the structure and potentialities of this encounter could bring more meaning, or ‘soulfulness’, to the shared life of the dyad, as well as positive developmental outcomes for infants. Three conceptualisations in particular signal the synergistic context of my approach, namely musical experience as ‘encounter’, that is, a rich, empowering, transformative, relational and liminal experience (Boyce-Tillman 2007a, 2007b, 2009); intuitive musical parenting, which is not a frivolous event, but ‘a cradle in which nascent psychosocial capacities can emerge and be developed’ (Dissanayake 2001 p. 336); and flow, or ‘a sense of transcendence’, an experience during which ‘the singer feels a mysterious sense of universal harmony’ (Csikszentmihalyi 1993 p. xiv).

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