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Experiencing Music – Restoring the Spiritual

Music as Well-being


June Boyce-Tillman

This book concerns an examination of the totality of the musical experience with a view to restoring the soul within it. It starts with an analysis of the strands in the landscape of contemporary spirituality. It examines the descriptors spiritual but not religious, and spiritual and religious, looking in particular at the place of faith narratives in various spiritualities. These strands are linked with the domains of the musicking experience: Materials, Expression, Construction and Values. The book sets out a model of the spiritual experience as a negotiated relationship between the musicker and the music. It looks in detail at various models of musicking drawn from music therapy, ethnomusicology, musicology and cultural studies. It examines the relationship between Christianity and music as well as examining some practical projects showing the effect of various Value systems in musicking, particularly in intercultural dialogue. It finally proposes an ecclesiology of musical events that includes both orate and literate traditions and so is supportive of inclusive community.


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This book has taken at least twenty years to write. It started with a PhD from the Institute of Education, London University; many people, both professional colleagues and personal friends, have helped me along the way. I am extremely grateful to the Philosophy of Music Education Review which has published many of my ideas over a period of time in a series of articles; its conferences enabled me to refine these ideas – in particular thanks to my friends Estelle Jorgensen and Iris Yob. Another place where refining of the ideas has taken place is the Early Childhood Music Education Seminar of the International Society for Music Education with the help of my good friend Carol Scott-Kassner; all of these people encouraged me to write this book. Panos Kanellopoulos also made some very insightful comments on the paper I gave at the Philosophy of Music Education Conference in New York in 2013, which are included here. A further area of exploration has been writing for liturgical contexts which enabled me to examine the effect of context on spirituality and here I am grateful to many feminist friends who have been prepared to experiment with me (Boyce-Tillman 2014). Collaboration with Kay Norrington and the Southern Sinfonia has enabled me to develop experimental large scale pieces. Stainer and Bell published my collection of hymns (Boyce-Tillman 2006c) and allowed me to use them in this book. Olivier Urbain and the music and peace-making group informed my work on Values. Finally the access to Winchester...

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