Music and Spirituality

Subject MUSI30247 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour lecture per week
Total Time Commitment:

140 hours


None. Please note that this subject is not available to Bachelor of Music (B-MUS) students.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:



Contact Centre
T: 13 MELB (6352) International +(61 3) 9035 5511

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
VCA and MCM Student Centre

Subject Overview:

The connection between music and spirituality can be explored from a number of perspectives within the broad field of music studies. This subject will engage students in learning how to critique ideas that both contrast and complement their own beliefs about the music and spirituality. The lecture series will begin by defining key aspects of spirituality relevant to music studies, and developing understandings about the concept of critiquing scholarly writings. A range of lecturers from music composition, music therapy, ethnomusicology and musicology will then present knowledge from their own disciplinary perspective, focusing on topics such as spirituality in indigenous Australian music, music and spirituality at the end of life, music in the history of the Western church, and representations of the spiritual in contemporary compositions. Together, the lecture series will offer a diverse array of contributions on the topic of music and spirituality in order to explore the connection from multiple perspectives and expand student’s existing knowledge about the topic.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Explain how music and spirituality are connected from the perspective of music therapy, ethnomusicology, composition, and musicology
  • Compare the ways that music is used to connect with spirituality in different cultural contexts
  • Distinguish between different types of religious and traditional practices and the function of music in relation to spirituality

Students will have:

  • Considered a range of perspectives in understanding the relationship between music and spirituality
  • Articulated reflexive responses to diverse scholarship notions in relation to their own experiences of music and spirituality
  • Experienced a range of music that others connect to spirituality that expand their existing assumptions about the topic

Ten short answers (400 words each) to questions posed by the lecturer that explore the relationship between a set piece of literature and the lecture topic; submitted weekly between weeks 2 and 11, 10% each (100%).

Prescribed Texts:

Reading lists will be made available via the LMS

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

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