Music as a Tool for Spiritual Formation

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Keyse, Andrew Carl
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School of Theology Theses 2018 , School of Theology, University of the South , Music and liturgy , Music in spiritual formation , Psychological aspects of music , Church music program
This project is about music and, specifically, how singing music in the Episcopal Church can be a tool for spiritual formation. I set out to see if others had been formed by music in the church in the same way I had been formed. I looked at both psychological and pedagogical aspects of music on childhood development to show how music helps us learn any subject, but particularly learn scripture and theology. I interviewed seven people connected to music and the church to see what impact music has had on them and how they use it as a tool for spiritual formation. I surveyed clergy to see if music was important to them in their own parishes and how they view it as a tool for formation. I found that those I interviewed agreed with music being a tool for spiritual formation. It was fascinating to hear examples in their own ministries of how they had experienced this and, also, how they taught it to their choirs or parishes. The results of the surveys were mostly positive about the importance of music both to those in the choir and to the congregation. Some negative results showed that not everyone views music in the same way. I came to the overall conclusion that I was not alone in my experience, and that many of us who have been formed by music in the church see it as a tool for spiritual formation. I also concluded that I now have the tools and resources to start a music program in a parish should one not exist, so that others may continue to be formed.