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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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Praise for Spirituality and Music Education


‘This timely volume examines from a variety of perspectives the interconnections between musical practice, both in education and wider social contexts, and the dimension of spirituality. Its constituent chapters draw on experience from three continents and focus on different aspects of the life-cycle as groups and individuals engage with the transmission and acquisition of musical interaction.

Collectively, the book’s authors address definitions of spirituality in the varying political and institutional contexts in which musical practice flourishes. A number of compelling questions emerge. How do teachers cope with the separation of church and state? What role might spiritually-motivated musical practice play in music therapy? How do musical participation and spirituality differ and complement one another in achieving social cohesion? What aspects of practice may be transferable between cultures?

While advocacy for music education and its role in the enrichment of culture currently faces considerable political challenges, this book convincingly surveys a significant aspect of the role which music has always played in childhood experience and preparation for lifelong participation. In bringing to attention the key contribution to this of spirituality and the ethos through which it shapes practice, Spirituality and Music Education bridges a significant gap in the network of pathways that represent this field today.’

— DR NICHOLAS BANNAN, Senior Lecturer in Music Education University of Western Australia

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