Second Faculty Mentor
The impetus for my project was how I view listening to music as a spiritual or religious experience. Listening to music, instead of practicing religion, satisfies my inclination toward spirituality. In the introduction to my paper, I outlined how music exists in my life. I thought it was valuable to provide my unique experience to give context to my research. I created a diagram that delineates how I interact with music and the benefits I derive from listening to music. During this self-reflection, I realized listening to music functions like a ritual for me. I noticed my individual ritualized listening derives from how my family listens to music together and shares music with each other. It is like a ritual that nourishes our relationships. I wanted to know if this group listening phenomenon is common and if it has been previously studied.
I familiarized myself with relevant research and theories from multiple disciplines, specifically neuroscience and religious and ritual studies. The key theories I encountered were the pleasure instinct, communicative musicality, and what I termed ‘prelinguistic ritual syntax.’ I noticed similarities and connections between these theories, which helped me refine the early conceptual core of my personal theory of music as a ritualistic form of emotional communication.
I wrote a literature review paper, which summarizes and comments on my sources, compiled an annotated bibliography, wrote a brief personal essay reflecting upon music in my life to introduce the paper, drew a diagram about music in my life, and made a PowerPoint presentation about my project.
Gerlach, Jillian N., "Music: Seeking Pleasure, Emotional Language, Ritualized Communication" (2022). Interdivisional Studies Summer Fellows. 1.
Seeking Pleasure, Emotional Language, Ritualized Communication Presentation
MusicInMyLife-MindMap-JillianGerlach-2022.jpg (710 kB)
Diagram: Interactions + Benefits
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