Two of the most popular mediums used across cultures worldwide are music and spirituality, contributing to the enhancement of our relationship with the divine.

Music is frequently integrated into spiritual practices to reinforce the transpersonal elements of meditation, worship, and ritual. Additionally, musical encounters are intertwined with spiritually-based practices and beliefs, intending to establish a unique and powerful connection to oneself.

For some individuals, the seamless transition from music to spirituality might not be surprising. This is because both mediums possess flexibility and can be highly appealing to those engaging with them and the respective settings in which they are utilized.

For example, when the song “Amazing Grace” is played in a church during a funeral, it may evoke intense emotions, higher volume, and increased resonance as the congregation collectively engages in worship through the music.

Conversely, if the same song is played in a hospital room, especially at the bedside with a patient, it takes on a quieter, more prayerful significance to provide comfort and engage in a more intimate musical sharing.

The Association Between Music and Spirituality

A man with an acoustic guitar on an Online retreat at sunset.

As music and spirituality become increasingly intertwined, their boundaries also become more adaptable, resulting in the diminishing difference between the two. In other words, being musical means being spiritual, and vice versa; to be spiritual is inherently to be musical.

This adaptability can be likened to individuals’ health journeys. Various characteristics of health, such as treatment frequency and dosage, symptom chronicity, as well as palliative and curative outcomes, are experienced based on an individual’s morals, values, and the course of the disease.

For example, one person may find a pain rating of 6 out of 10 manageable, while another person with the same pain level may require treatment. Additionally, one patient might opt for the improved quality of life offered by palliative care, whereas another may prefer the potential longevity provided by curative treatments.

These influential and evolving qualities of health, music, and spirituality are shaped by different cultures. This implies that the engagement with health, music, and spirituality is expressed through distinct cultural lenses. This raises a pertinent question: if health, music, and spirituality are interconnected, how do these three elements interact in each situation?

How Music Therapists Help Patients in Hospice

A silhouette of a woman sitting on a swing at sunset, engrossed in prayerful contemplation.

Most often, music therapists encounter unique situations when working with patients in hospice care. Hospice is a facility that prioritizes the quality of life for patients with six months or less to live, emphasizing critical health issues over resolution and closure.

In these crucial moments, spirituality becomes a crucial resource for patients and their families. It aids in managing the present circumstances while preparing for the inevitable.

The impact of spirituality, such as strength from scripture, comfort in ritual, and the peace found in worship, meditation, or prayer, varies significantly based on each patient’s faith traditions. This involves not only the patient’s religious beliefs but also their lived experiences through spiritual practices.

Music therapists assess the patient’s faith traditions and explore their musical experiences and traditions that contribute to their spiritual engagement. This culturally informed approach impacts health, music, and spirituality, allowing patients to become more aware of the circumstances surrounding their impending death.

While recent discussions in music therapy have defined spirituality in a broad manner, making it challenging for therapists to pinpoint patients’ spiritually based resources, we can address this limitation by exploring the intersection between health, spirituality, and culturally influenced music.

The intersection serves as a foundation for developing music therapy tailored to caregivers and Christian patients facing imminent death. It provides a basis for creating music therapy interventions that offer caregivers and patients access to faith-based resources, aiding them in grappling with transcendence while navigating the end-of-life transition.

How To Deal with Transcendence

A young woman is meditating in front of a plant while engaging in Contemplative music.

Transcendence is a complex concept challenging to confirm, as it surpasses common experiences defining our daily lives. It enables us to venture into new realms beyond our anticipated limits. For Christian patients facing imminent death, transcendence takes on a vertical aspect, signifying an ascent towards the divine beyond the corporeal.

Conversely, Christian caregivers experience a horizontal transcendence, guiding them outward towards mortal support structures to aid in their journey through bereavement.

The Holy Spirit, representing the connection between the divine and human, directs these varied transcendences. In this context, the music therapist assumes the role of a minister, crafting impactful musical experiences to assist in the transcendence of both caregiver and patient, supported by the Holy Spirit.

This explicit concept holds ethical implications. Firstly, music therapy is acknowledged as a Christian approach, intended for practice in hospice care. Music therapists conduct spiritual evaluations tailored to patients’ diverse beliefs and traditions. This individual-centered approach ensures that the integration of Christian beliefs into music therapy is initiated by the patient, avoiding any perception of coercion or conversion attempts by the therapist.

Offering ethical and effective support to Christian patients and families facing imminent death takes various forms. It’s crucial to recognize this concept not as a linear prescription but as an exploratory method, opening avenues for providing psychospiritual care.

With the growing population of the baby boomer generation, it becomes imperative for healthcare systems to deliver comprehensive end-of-life care, acknowledging the interconnectedness of spirit, mind, and body in overall health.

Music and spirituality have evolved into integral aspects of our daily lives. Exploring the diverse transformations of health, music, and spirituality significantly contributes to the pursuit of a dignified death.

The Spiritual Meaning Behind Music

A young woman playing Christ-centered music on a piano in a church.

When considering the spiritual dimension of music, it extends beyond sacred music explicitly tied to religious texts or church associations. Music possesses an inherent spiritual quality, capable of directly influencing us on a subconscious level. Its impact extends to our nervous system, regulating both our psychological and physical state.

You may be familiar with functional background music, commonly heard in elevators, offices, supermarkets, department stores, or during phone holds, known as muzak. This technique strategically leverages the power of music to motivate people; a positive mood often leads to increased productivity or purchasing behavior.

Originally, music held a sacred connection dating back to prehistoric times, likely originating from cultic practices involving ecstatic sounds and rhythmic movements in ritual dances. Linguists suggest that music predates human language as a form of communication, implying its existence before humans.

At Angelus Music, we specialize in spiritual music. Explore more about our offerings by visiting