Music in worship: making spiritual connections through sound
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Music has played a significant role in religion and spiritual settings over the centuries and continues to be included throughout church history, forming an important aspect of worship, contributing to spiritual growth and wellbeing. This article situates itself within a wider study on Spirituality and Wellbeing: Music in the community. Drawing on narrative reflection, the authors discuss their experiences across Melbourne (Australia) and Potchefstroom (South Africa) and include some interview data from church musicians from the wider study in Melbourne in relation to how church music contributes to spirituality and impacts on wellbeing. As church musicians they argue that music in church settings can offer parishioners the opportunity to experience and express spirituality in their life through sound. They recognize and acknowledge that music through singing, playing, improvising and listening is an aspect of spiritual connection that is not confined to the institution of the church or to a religion but is concerned with the connection we feel and sense in mysterious and unknown places and spaces. The findings of this study are limited as it only focuses on the experience of the authors, hence, generalizations to other musicians or church settings cannot be made. The authors argue that music in church settings can enliven and transform worship through music in which spiritual connections can be fostered between God and man that positively engender wellbeing.