Music & Movement

We are musical creatures. It is like a rising tide inside us, making everything inside more fluid and connected.

Dance & Movement

The more we visibly align our movements, the more we feel connected. Some communities of faith integrate dance and movement into their religious services or prayer practices. Swaying back and forth, spinning, nodding or simply sharing gestures during a prayer all add dimension to the experience and weave us together even more tightly.

Very often an ideal prayer position is defined for us.

Indigenous groups often make extensive use of dance. For example, Native Americans have unique ceremonial dances for specific gatherings, where the drums, instruments and movements are the prayers.

Communal Songs

Okay – this always gets me all verklempt. Singing together brings people into harmony – a sense that one’s self is melding together with others into a greater whole. This sends a rush of endorphins and other feel-good chemicals that we share at that moment.

Group glue. Very satisfying group glue. One of the truly great highs.

Intonations & Chanting

Many spiritual disciplines have mantras that use sound to help us focus and be more open to the spirit world or the divine. Repetition. Centering. Again, religions are masters at using music to help people into a state of openness and transcendence.

Unique Musical Forms

Each faith community develops a unique musical voice – instrumentation, rhythms, melodies. From drums to the muezzin call to prayer to bells and to cantors, music quickly establishes and maintains member connection. So recognizable that just a hint and followers feel the call. 

Because musical formats are so tightly linked with their spiritual experiences, members often resist any attempts to introduce changes. It can feel like toying with the faith practice itself. Introducing guitars into the Catholic liturgy back in the 60’s created lots of discomfort, but eventually the church found ways to accommodate a variety of preferences. Musical roots run deep.