ISME’s Spirituality and Music Education Special Interest Group


Dr. Amira Ehrlich

Levinsky College of Education, Israel


The activity of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) includes several commissions and special interest group (SIGs) that aim to engage researchers and practitioners from around the world who share specific fields of interest. Every two years the SIGs meet at the ISME world conference, which include sessions dedicated to SIG interests and agendas. One such SIG is the Spirituality in Music Education (SAME).

The SAME SIG was formed in response to the growing interest in and research about music education and spirituality. It is a space were researchers, theoreticians and practitioners discuss and explore various topics of spirituality in music education. Over the past two decades the SIG has grown into an international community including over 50 members spanning five continents.

Last May it began to become clear that the 2020 World Conference scheduled to take place in Helsinki would have to move online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SAME SIG chair, Dr. Susan Quindag, of Liberty University, USA, convened a committee to help move the SIG conference session to an online format. Sig veteran Rev Prof June Boyce-Tillman of University of Winchester in the UK and North West University in South Africa joined with Dr. Quindag, alongside Dr. Karin Hendricks of Boston University, USA, and Dr. Amira Ehrlich of Levinsky College of Education in Israel.

This new SAME SIG committee created an innovative online conference format that included a live opening panel; an ISME YouTube channel including 15 pre-recorded presentations; and a live discussion event that took place two weeks after the presentations were all posted on YouTube. This unique event took place in July 2020, with over 40 SIG members joining in on Zoom from five continents.

Amongst the pre-recorded presentations were two main panel events: one on Christian Theology and music education; and another interreligious introspection asking “what does spirituality sound like?” To date, the videos on the SIG channel have accumulated 444 views – such an extensive exposure that was never before possible at non-digital conference events.

The SAME SIG is always welcoming new members, embracing one of the broadest spectrums of scholars, theologists, musicians, teachers, and facilitators to be found within an academic organization. Bi-yearly SIG interactions have become a platform for international and interreligious collaborations that have resulted in other conference events, academic, educational and musical collaborations, research endeavors, and publications.

Together with all ISME commissions and SIGs, SAME now looks forward with great hope towards the 2022 35thISME World Conference which is scheduled to take place in Brisbane, Australia, July 17-22, 2022. We have no doubt that this upcoming event will include hybrid sessions, allowing SIG members to interact both in person and online. As the new acting SAME SIG chair, I hope to maintain the benefits of the digital platforms that we have developed, even as I pray for safe return to in- person gatherings.

Submissions are now welcome for the 2022 World Conference: performance applications open till August 31 2021; and all other submissions welcome until October 4th, 2021. If you would like your submission to be considered for inclusion in a Commission or SIG stream during the World Conference you should indicate this on the online submission form. We welcome you to consider submitting a performance and/or paper presentation with an explicit request to be included in the Spirituality and Music Education SIG sessions.

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