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University study explores link between spirituality and music

A new study led by the School of Divinity of the University of St. Andrews is focusing on establishing the link between spirituality and music. The study headed by Professor George Corbett and Dr. Sarah Moerman is inviting people to take part in a survey that will explore the relationship between spirituality and music. The conductor and composer Sir James MacMillan, who also teaches at the university, has stated that music is “the most spiritual of the arts” which is attracting academicians from all over the world in various academic fields to explore this statement.

Premier Christian News reports:

An ambitious new scientific study led by the University of St Andrews is aiming to demonstrate a direct link between music and spirituality.

It’s inviting members of the public to respond to a survey as part of a study into the relationship between music and spirituality. It’s being led by Professor George Corbett and Dr Sarah Moerman from the University’s School of Divinity.

The composer and conductor Sir James MacMillan, who holds a professorship at St Andrews, has often referred to music as “the most spiritual of the arts”. This claim about music has challenged and united academics from leading universities from the UK all the way across the world to Australia, and in fields as diverse as theology and neuroscience.

Professor Corbett said : “We know that people in all different cultures have turned to music to express their experiences of love, of suffering and death, and of a relationship to the divine.

“Music seems to open up dimensions of human experience beyond the material or what we might call spiritual realities, and our project is trying to see if there are ways of demonstrating empirically that commonly perceived relationship between music and spiritual realities.”

The study states its aim as helping all faith groups, and even those that do not identify with any faith, to improve their connection with their spiritual needs through the power of music.

The Art Seeking Understanding programme of the Templeton Religion Trust, which focuses on promoting human understanding across all belief systems and faiths, is sponsoring the project.

The project is grant funded by Templeton Religion Trust, as part of the Trust’s Art Seeking Understanding programme, which looks to advance human understanding across all faiths and belief systems.

Professor Corbett concludes: “The unique impact of this project will be the way it unites religious and scientific disciplines to explore and understand the way we engage with, and indeed need, music in our lives.”

Read the full article here.

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