Editor: Justin St. Vincent
Publisher: Xtreme Music
ISBN 978-0-473-15690-9

Click Here To Purchase The Spiritual Significance of Music

Justin St. Vincent, editor for The Spiritual Significance of Music, is founder and director of Xtreme Music. He is a native of New Zealand and has lived in the UK, Hong Kong, and North America. (2010, p.213) New Zealand is now is choice of residence.

While most when queried about the connection between music and spirituality might come back with something entirely religious the various people that Mr. St. Vincent has invited to participate in this book range from total religious experiences in creating, listening, or playing, music to more subtle and less concrete versions of the connection that one might get from music itself. The pool of experts he questions on this topic is vast and multidimensional in breadth of life/vocational experiences across this mystical musical industry.

Some of the more memorable excerpts, to me, are listed below: From guitarist/vocalist Sander Gommans from After Forever “The lyrics…do handle something bigger than ourselves: a force we cannot explain.” (2010, p.6) Music therapist Kenneth Aigen says (p.7) “The creation of groove is a spiritual discipline because it requires focus and abandonment, body and mind, unison and variation, intention and surrender.” Gonzo Sandoval, percussionist for Armored Saint, says that “We allow listeners to peek into our very soul.” (p.13) Percussionist, Cyro Baptista writes that “ …it takes a lot of courage to make music from your heart, certainly more courage than getting a gun to make war.” (p.22) Rand Bishop, author, defines that connection as “Nimble fingers, dexterous lips, powerful diaphragms, and sonorous throats give wings and fuel to music’s flight.” (p.29)

Those above are but a few of the quotes that stick out in my mind as defining the spirituality of music as asked by Justin St. Vincent in this book.  Common threads that can be read across the people who participated in this book are that music can take the listener, musician, or writer to places where words cannot completely express: moving us to spiritual heights unlike anything else we are able to feel as humans: it is subjective in nature and resonates with each person differently. Many participants also say that music has the ability to change moods or actions across the entire socio-emotional spectrum. Music can evoke love and hate, depression and elation, religious and/or atheist like no other art form.  Gerald Casale, bassist, vocalist, and co-founder for Devo said that “True spirituality seeks to re-unite a thread that connects all of us to the rest of life and, thus, brings us together.” (p.52) Peijman Kouretchian, drummer for Girth, said that “Music…is an instantaneous sensory….decoding of spirit.” (p.77) Kouretchian also adds that the more pure [paraphrase] the artist the more powerful the music.

The pages of this book are filled with opinions and thoughts on the topic of spirituality and music, but few can touch what Wendy Bartlett, director of Healing with Harmony, said “Maybe Heaven is not a place at all, but rather a feeling that awakens our Spirit because for that moment in time we are touched by music, we are one with our Maker.” (2010, p.86) Thank you Justin St. Vincent for editing these many excerpts and combining them into a cohesive format for a thought provoking and insightful reading. 

 Click Here To Purchase The Spiritual Significance of Music