Music and Spirituality, in the Words of Three Masters

I’ve long been interested in the connections between music and spirituality – however you choose to define it. I don’t pretend to have any spiritual answers, or even any concrete beliefs. However, I do find that in my own experience, it’s impossible for me to separate music from life. Issues and questions I have outside of music inevitably find their expression in my composition or improvisation. In fact, I think music can serve as the perfect laboratory for observing and learning about oneself, and an excellent and worthwhile way to practice living a spiritually-fulfilled life. Through studying and making music, it’s possible to also learn about the creative process, perseverance and discipline, ego and fear, ethics and integrity, collaboration and altruism, and the quest for meaning.

If music were a spiritual university, stage-fright and career-jealousy could be the introductory courses “Ego 101/102”. Your teacher could mark you down a whole letter grade in “Basic Decency in the Contemporary Rock Band” if you didn’t help the drummer pack up after the gig. And your GPA would be based not on how well you play your instrument but on how how pure your relationship to it remained…the day you learned to play like it like a complete beginner, you would graduate.

Anyway, here are few gems I’ve found online – some clips of a few of my favorite musicians sharing their own thoughts on music and spirituality. Hope you find some inspiration in these clips, and feel free to ignore the parts that don’t appeal to you and reinterpret the parts that do. 

Bill Evans on the creative process and the “universal musical mind”:

John Cage on the beauty of sound and silence without meaning:

John Coltrane on music as a possible force for good:

From Blank on Blank (original interview here)

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