New book establishes link between spirituality and music education
2018-02-11

Description: Dr Anchen Froneman and Gerda Pretorius Tags: Dr Anchen Froneman and Gerda Pretorius


Dr Anchen Froneman and Gerda Pretorius, lecturers from the Odeion School of Music.
Photo: Supplied

A recently released book, Spirituality and Music Education: Perspectives from Three Continents, includes the work of two renowned lecturers from the Odeion School of Music at the University of the Free State. Both Dr Anchen Froneman and Gerda Pretorius contributed their passion and research to this publication that is described as follows by editor June Boyce-Tillman: “The book aims to provide various perspectives on spirituality and the link thereof to music education.”

Born to communicate musically and spiritually

“I do not attempt to link music with religious experiences,” Pretorius says, “but rather with feelings and experiences of delight, transformation, and aliveness … to name a few.” Her years as a music teacher sparked her interest in parent-infant musical communication. Achieving spirituality in music education is not easily reached, because it requires a complex learning and developmental process, Pretorius explains. “But in infancy, the process happens naturally.” By way of community programmes, she would like to inform parents about the potential benefits of natural music-making processes at home.

“The book aims to provide
various perspectives on spirituality
and the link thereof
to music education.”
—June Boyce-Tillman

How music makes you move

Dr Froneman focuses on the music performers and their experiences. “I researched a context for aesthetic experience and spiritual experiences before I questioned expert musicians about their experiences, especially during chamber music performances. In this context, aesthetic experiences provide meaning to the performer and included feelings like exhilaration, satisfaction and inspiration. Within my research, spiritual experiences are not necessarily related to religion, but rather an experience of an imaginary realm.”

Dr Froneman credits her study of Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis for her interest in the close link between your inner intent (emotions, feelings) and outer manifestations (movement, gestures). “Expert musicians always seem so invested and engaged in the music-making process,” she explains. “My interest is to uncover the nature of experiences during the music-making process, rather than the actual music created.”