Relevant Publications

Series of books published by Peter Lang and edited

by June Boyce-Tillman

The series of books (published by Peter Lang) Music and Spirituality (general editor: June Boyce-Tillman) explores the relationships between spirituality and music in a variety of traditions and contexts including those in which human beings have performed music with spiritual intention or effect. It addresses the plurality of modern society in the areas of musical style and philosophical and religious beliefs, and gives respect to different positions regarding the place of music both in worship and in the wider society.

The series will include historical, anthropological, musicological, ethnomusicological, theological and philosophical dimensions and encourages multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary contributions.

It looks for well-researched studies with new and open approaches to spirituality and music and encourages interesting innovative case-studies. Books within the series are subject to peer review and will include single and co-authored monographs as well as edited collections including conference proceedings. The use of musical material in either written or recorded form as part of submissions is welcome.


A Rhythm for Wellbeing: A Therapist Reflects (Music and Spirituality Book 16)

By Gillian Schoffield (Author), June Boyce-Tillman (Author), 2024

This book reflects on a journey as a shamanic healer and a psychotherapist, and how the integration of psychotherapy and traditional healing methods emerged. It explores an initial training in cognitive behavioural psychotherapy, to gestalt therapy, to body therapy, to energy healing and shamanism, to develop a unified theory. It explores the process by means of a dialogue between a psychotherapist, a shamanic healer, an academic and an integrative therapist. This is placed in a dialogue within the therapist herself. Later chapters give examples of the unified theory in practice, including both individual and in group settings. Opening and closing chapters contextualise the work in the context of developments on the internet in the areas of wellbeing and therapeutic practices drawing on different cultures.

in tune with heaven or not: women in christian liturgical music

By the Rev Professor, June Boyce-Tillman, 2014

This book examines how the values associated with Wisdom theology can be used to examine women’s contribution to Christian liturgical music, concentrating on the English speaking world and Europe. It starts with a chapter bringing together Wisdom theology with feminist musicology. It uses to analyse vignettes of women in liturgical music in mainstream Christian history of Europe. the analysis concentrates on such values as community/building,nurturing, musical processes comparing orality and literacy, embodiment, intuition, and public and private spaces.

This book is an attempt to tell the untold stories of women in the musical history of the church history and I hope that for readers it will be a source of strategies of resistance, inspiration and hope.

Experiencing Music – Restoring the Spiritual: Music as Wellbeing

By the Rev Professor, June Boyce-Tillman, 2016

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.

A River rather than a road: The Community Choir as Spiritual experience

By Sarah Morgan and June Boyce-Tillman, 2016

This book is an exploration of English community choirs, their music and their leadership from a very personal perspective, which brings together Sarah Morgan’s background as a folk musician, her career in training and facilitation, and her developing understanding of the world of the choir. The literature upon which this book draws is hugely diverse, drawing on musicology, music therapy, community arts, spirituality, philosophy, theology, sociology and education. It is a cross-disciplinary or trans-disciplinary book and looks at the phenomenon of the community choir through a number of lenses associated with spirituality, in a way that draws on the methodology of crystallization.  It is the story of a journey that I hope will inform other people’s journeys in this area.

They Bear Acquaintance – African American Spirituals and the Camp Meetings

 By Nancy L. Graham, 2016

This is an exciting book showing how a spiritual tradition has been formed from a mix of traditions and it also shows clearly how history is constructed. The author shows how a dominant culture tried to make stories simple; she disentangles the strands and shows how complex the stories are. It shows how the spirituality of the US is built out of a merger of European and African traditions. The music is the way the spirituality is merged and identity created through music king. It shows clearly how emotion, theology, and culture interact within the concept of spirituality especially when it is expressed in musicking. It explores a particular tradition in a painstaking way and restoring the place in the story of the sacred and secular traditions from Europe alongside the spiritual traditions coming from Africa via the slave trade within the history of spirituality in the US.

Spirituality and Music Education – Perspectives from Three Continents

Edited by June Boyce-Tillman, 2017

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.

Queering Freedom – Music, Identity and Spirituality: Anthology from North America, UK

Edited by Karin Hendricks and June Boyce-Tillman, 2018

This volume is intended to challenge the status quo of music learning and experience by intersecting various musical topics with discussions of spirituality and queer studies.  Spanning from the theoretical to the personal, the chapter authors utilize a variety of approaches to query how music makers might blend spirituality’s healing and wholeness with queer theory’s radical liberation.  It represents an eclectic mix of historical, ethnomusicological, case study, narrative, ethnodramatic, philosophical, theological, and theoretical contributions.  The volume reaches an international audience, with invited authors from around the world who represent the voices and perspectives of over ten countries. The authors engage with policy, practice, and performance to critically address contemporary and historical music practices.  Through its broad and varied writing styles and representations, the collection aims to shift perspectives of possibility and invite readers to envision a fresh, organic, and more holistic musical experience.  

Freedom Song: Faith, Abuse, Music and Spirituality: A Lived Experience of Celebration


by the Rev Professor June Boyce-Tillman, 2019

This book is an autobiographical account of the development of an authentic interiority, based thematically around the Lord’s Prayer. It charts the way in which the Christian faith in which I was enculturated, was refined by my lived experience of music, abuse, forgiveness, interfaith dialogue, gender and vocation (into teaching and priesthood). It sees music and spirituality as a route into forgiveness by transforming (‘mulching’) childhood abuse creatively into celebration. It challenges established therapeutic models and suggests a variety of tools including created ritual. It sees my life as a journey into understanding and experiencing the multi-facetted nature of the Divine. It is set out as a series of meditations on the themes contained in this prayer; it can be read in separate sections, as well as in its totality. My life is seen as a crystal that can be seen through various lenses, shown in different styles of writing – narrative accounts in a personal style, hymns, songs and poems that condense my thinking around a theme and more academic reflection using other people’s writing and experiences to understand my own. Each chapter ends with questions which I hope will enable readers to reflect on their own lived experience.

Rivers of Sacred Sound

Chant by Solveig McIntosh, 2019

The intention of this book is to highlight perception and understanding of chant practice, Eastern and Western, from BC to AD, by tracing some ancient roots. Why are there so many references all over the world to praising the divine with sound? Why is the tradition of chant a sacred one? Could it be that praise songs and ritual are at the heart of life and have been, since the beginning of human existence? The text of this book covers a time span of approximately 5000 years. The chapters represent a progression from aspects of the development of Eastern music, to the origins of Western music derived from chant. It opens with a very brief description of ancient river-valley civilisations before selecting the Indus river-valley civilisation as a particular focus. This book takes the discussion about Gregorian chant beyond a European perspective. It aims to open a door onto some aspects of more ancient chant forms, their words and their melodies. The door, once opened, reveals a vista of possibilities.


Environment Matters Why Human Song Sounds: The Way It Does


by Lynn Whidden and Paul Shore, 2018


This sets out an environmental account of song and music that embeds it squarely in its physical environments based on human sensitivity to the sounds around them. It raises many questions and hopefully will stimulate worthwhile research into human roots in our sound environment. Other areas of research, such as economics are now including environmental contributions, why not music? It identifies three sound environments called habitats: outdoors, built, and electronic. These three habitats are viewed as a tool with which to deepen the understanding of the infinite genres of human song and the environments in which they have been born. Each habitat is viewed as an archetype which embraces a predominant mode of sound generation. Early on humans created songs outdoors that are a fit with the natural environment; then music composed indoors became independent of outdoor sound; and then electronic songs were transmitted by electricity, and composed largely from electronic material. Whether the ambient sounds are outdoor, indoor or electronic the impact on human song is audible. Our premise is that human song is made up of sounds derived from our surrounding environment. We think we have made ourselves independent of the physical sound environment, that our songs are learned from other people, from print and from electronic copies. Our focus remains on consciously creating music with little recognition of the planet’s pervasive sound. There is differentiation and diversity, but no disconnect. Humans and their sonic products are part of their environments.


Enlivening faith : Music, Spirituality and Christian Theology


Editor the Rev professor June Boyce-Tillman, Stephen Roberts and Jane Erricker, 2019





The connection of music to Christian spirituality has been there from the very beginning of the Christian tradition and has developed in different ways in a variety of cultures associated with various denominations as well as theological differences within denominations. Alongside this, the notion of spirituality within music has been generating increasing interest in the context of professional and academic discourses in Western music hand related fields. This has arisen in an increasingly secularized cultural context in which music is often considered as an important carrier for spiritual experiences. It is, however, an area besieged with problems such as the place of religion in the public square, including political, cultural, social, legal, educational, aesthetic, ethical, and religious tensions. This anthology is designed to look at these issues through various lenses and from different perspectives.  It has contributions which are theoretical but also case studies from various church contexts and education in various continents.  Most of the chapters are based on papers given at conferences at the Tavener Centre at the University of Winchester and the Nordoff Robbins Research Centre in London in 2016 and 2017.  It includes case study material, empirical studies, philosophical, theological and theoretical contributions that engage with policy and practice.

Hearts Ease – The Spirituality of the Music of John Tavener


Editors June Boyce-Tillman and Anne Marie Forbes, 2020



The music of John Tavener (1944 – 2013) has brought alive spirituality for many people. His own distinctive spirituality is the essence of his understanding of the nature and role of music. His spirituality is rooted firmly in the Christian tradition but during his lifetime he drew on a variety of spiritual traditions. His fundamental view of music was that it is concerned with heart’s ease. He challenged an increasingly secularized cultural context including its view of the place and role of music. This anthology is designed to look at the issue of Sir John’s spirituality through various lenses and from different perspectives with papers drawn primarily from the study days of the Tavener Centre at the University of Winchester. Contributions are from scholars, musicians, theologians, medical practitioners, informed listeners and practitioners in religious traditions. These include case study material, empirical studies, philosophical, theological and theoretical contributions and accounts from lived experience of spirituality generated by Sir John’s music.

The Return Beat: Interfacing with our Interface


By Olugbenga Olusola Elijah Taiwo, 2021



This book represents a significant contribution to debates about identity, the arts and spirituality. Written in an autoethnographic style, the author charts his own journey into understanding the interface between himself, culture and digital technology. He charts a course through West African orate and literate traditions and their relationship to the transatlantic trade of enslaved Africans, describing how they became a source of so many dance traditions in Europe and the Americas, such as capoeira, Afro Brazilian and Cuban movement, Hip Hop and Samba. He enters into a detailed analysis of Western linear time and the African curved time; the flux of the Return Beat. He sets out a description of the Yoruba religion of the Orishas; centred around the figure of Olodumare and the concept of Ashe, the animating force of the natural world.

Authentic Connection -Music, Spirituality, and Wellbeing



Editors – Karin Hendricks and June Boyce-Tillman 2021




This volume focuses on the ways in which mutual musical engagement might play a role in creating healthful, life-giving experiences. Scholarly chapters and reflective interludes illustrate how people use music to forge authentic spiritual and emotional connections with others, including in times of physical isolation and political unrest. Chapters and interludes address topics such as relationship building, community, wellbeing, therapy, education, and ecology. Each describes various ways in which individuals connect authentically with themselves, others, the music they make, and the physical and spiritual world around them. Many authors address current global crises including the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, nationalism, environmental injustice, and associated climate catastrophes. Authors articulate various qualities of authentic human connections, and discuss various ways in which music might be poised to facilitate emotional and spiritual connections in some of the most challenging and physically isolating times.

Living Song: Singing, Spirituality and Wellbeing



Editors – Karin Hendricks and June Boyce-Tillman 2021




There is an immense and growing literature on singing in relation to a number of areas, often associated with wellbeing of various kinds – physical, mental, emotional, communal, public and spiritual. Although spirituality is mentioned in much of the literature it is often as an addendum to other more measurable aspects of the experience/event. This volume consists of various approaches to the spirituality of the singing experience, particularly how these have changed or even been heightened during the current pandemic. This collection offers a number of very wide-ranging perspectives from across the world. The chapters are drawn from several cultures and include a number referring to the various lockdowns that have characterized the pandemic. The book includes a mixture of chapters-which incorporate academic references and discourse-and interludes that are more reflective accounts of individual experiences.

Ritualised Belonging: Musicing and Spirituality in the South African Context



Edited by June Boyce-Tillman, Liesl van der Merwe and Janelieze Morelli 2021



This book interrogates the notion of belonging through musicing rituals in the South African context. The authors raise questions such as «What can we learn from musicing rituals?», «What does it mean to belong through musicing?» and «In what ways could musicing address marginalization and transform a broken society?»

To answer these questions, the editors employ a range of perspectives from micro-sociological theory to personal accounts of marginalization and belonging through musicing. The contributors employ both established and novel qualitative strategies of inquiry including case studies, narrative inquiry, performative autoethnography, practice as research, and interpretive phenomenological analysis, amongst others.

Although this book focuses on musicing in the South African context, international readers will also benefit from the rich theoretical and methodological contributions in this volume. It investigates the potentiality of cultivating a sense of belonging through musicing rituals to heal a mutilated world. The contributions will inform and enhance readers’ repertoire of musicing strategies in both community and educational contexts.

This work is based on the research supported in part by the National Research Foundation of South Africa (Grant Numbers: 118579). The Grantholder, Prof Liesl van der Merwe, acknowledges that opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in Ritualised Belonging, generated by the NRF supported research (Grant Numbers: 118579), is that of the authors, and that the NRF accepts no liability whatsoever in this regard.



Music and Spirituality suggested bibliography

Astley, Jeff, Hone Timothy and Savage, Mark (eds) (2000), Creative Chords: Studies in Music, Theology and Christian Formation,     Leominster: Gracewing,

Begbie, Jeremy (2000), Theology, Music and Time, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Boyce-Tillman, J.B. (2000a), Constructing Musical Healing: The Wounds that Sing, London: Jessica Kingsley.

Boyce-Tillman, June (2000b), The Creative Spirit- Harmonious Living with Hildegard of Bingen, Norwich: Canterbury Press.

Boyce-Tillman, June (2004), Towards an Ecology of Music Education, Philosophy of Music Education Review, Vol. 12 No. 2 Fall, pp. 102–25.

Boyce-Tillman, June (2005a), Ways of Knowing. In Clarke, Chris (ed.) (2005), Ways of Knowing, Science and Mysticism today, Exeter: Imprint Academic, pp. 8–33.

Boyce-Tillman, June (2006a), Music as Spiritual Experience, Modern Believing, Church and Society, Vol. 47 No. 3, July, pp. 20–31.

Boyce-Tillman, June (2007a), The Spirituality of Music Education. In Bresler, Liora (ed.) (2007), The International Handbook of Research in Arts Education, Amsterdam:
Springer, pp. 1405–21.

Boyce-Tillman, June (2009a), The Transformative Qualities of a liminal Space created by musicking, Philosophy of Music education review, Vol. 17 No. 2 Fall, pp. 184–202.

Boyce-Tillman, June (2010), Even the stones cry out: Music Theology and the Earth.In Isherwood, Lisa and Bellchambers, Elaine (ed.) (2010) Through us, with us, in us: Relational Theologies in the twenty-first Century, London: SCM Press pp. 153–78.

Boyce-Tillman, June (2012a), Music and the Dignity of Difference, Philosophy of Music
Education Review, Vol. 20 No. 1 Spring, pp. 25–44.

Boyce-Tillman. June (2016), Music as Spiritual Experience. In Schmidt, Bettina E. (2016), The Study of Religious Experience: Approaches and Methodologies, Sheffield and Bristol: Equinox, pp151-159 ISBN: 978-1-78179-257-5

Boyce-Tillman, June (2016a). Experiencing Music – Restoring the Spiritual, music as Wellbeing, Oxford, Bern, Brussels, Frankfurt am Main, NY : Peter Lang ISBN 978-3-0343-1952-2

Brown, David and Loades Ann (eds) (1995), The Sense of the Sacramental: Movement and Measure in Art and Music, Place and Time, London: SPCK

Gardner, Kay (1990), Sounding the Inner landscape: Music as medicine, Rockport Mass and Shaftesbury, Dorset: Element Books.

Gass, Robert and Brehony, Kathleen A. (2000), Chanting: Discovering Spirit in Sound, London: Broadway.

Habron, J. & Van der Merwe, L. 2019. Stories students tell about their lived experiences of spirituality in the Dalcroze class. British Journal of Music Education. ISSN 0265-0517 (In Press)

James, Jamie (1995), The Music of the Spheres: Music, Science and the Natural Order of the Universe, London: Abacus.

Kung, Hans (1992), Mozart: Traces of Transcendence, London: SCM.

Morgan, Sarah and Boyce-Tillman, June (2016), A River rather than a Road: The community choir as spiritual experience, Oxford, Bern, Brussels, Frankfurt am Main, NY, Vienna: Peer Lang. 978-3-0343-2265-2

Nortje, E. & Van der Merwe, L. 2016. Young children and spirituality: understanding children’s connectedness in a group music class. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality.

Ralls- MacLeod, Karen and Harvey, Graham (eds) (2003) Indigenous Religious Musics, Farnborough:

Rooley, Anthony (1990), Performance: Revealing the Orpheus Within, Shaftesbury: Element Books.

Rouget, Gilbert trans Biebuyck, Brunhilde (1987), Music and Trance: A Theory of the relations between Music and Possession, Chicago and London; University of Chicago Press.

Shusterman, Richard (2008), Body Consciousness: A Philosophy of Mindfulness and Somaesthetics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Steer, Maxwell (ed.) (1999) Contemporary Music Review: Music and Mysticism (I), Vol. 14

Tsiris, G. (2018). Performing spirituality in music therapy: Towards action, context and the everyday. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. Available on:

Tsiris, G., & Ansdell, A. (Eds). (2019). Exploring the spiritual in music: Interdisciplinary dialogues in music, wellbeing and education. Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy, Special Issue 11(1). Available on:

 Tsiris, G, Performing spirituality in music therapy: Towards action, context and the everyday. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Urbain, Olivier (ed.) (2007), Music and Conflict Transformation: Harmonies and Dissonances in Geopolitics, London: I.B. Tauris.

Van der Merwe, L. & Habron, J. 2015. A conceptual model of spirituality in music education. Journal of Research in Music Education. DOI: 10.1177/0022429415575314

Van der Merwe, L. & Habron, J. 2018. Exploring the lived experiences of spirituality of five Dalcroze teachers: an IPA Psychology of   Music

Van der Merwe, L. & Habron, J. 2019. The Dalcroze diamond: A theory of spiritual experiences in Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Music education research. 21:4, 426-440, DOI: 10.1080/14613808.2019.1612340








education research. 21:4, 426-440, DOI: 10.1080/14613808.2019.1612340




Van der Merwe, L. & Habron, J. 2019. The Dalcroze diamond: A theory of spiritual experiences in Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Music education research. 21:4, 426-440, DOI: 10.1080/14613808.2019.1612340




Habron, J. & Van der Merwe, L. 2017. A conceptual study of spirituality in selected writings by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. International Journal of Music Education.

Nortje, E. & Van der Merwe, L. 2016. Young children and spirituality: understanding children’s connectedness in a group music class. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality.