This paper examines the role of musical engagement in later-life spiritual development and ageing. The nexus of music, spirituality and ageing has been relatively unexplored. Change of styles, means of expression and ways of engagement are among the transformation that older musicians often encounter. Based on an ethnographic study of Japanese music practitioners, the paper introduces a community music practice in which spiritual cultivation is a collective goal of musical pursuit. A case introduced in this paper suggests that music helps to develop a sense of purpose and enhance the meaning of life by instilling the feeling that people are still able to develop musically and spiritually. Some of the transformation identified in the study included changes of repertoire, the purpose of practice and the meaning of progress, all of which was characterized in the dictum of less-is-more. The paper highlights the process in which spiritual development and musical growth are linked and support positive ageing. Copyright © 2017 Cambridge University Press.
CitationMatsunobu, K. (2018). Music for life: A Japanese experience of spirituality, ageing and musical growth. Ageing & Society, 38, 1100-1120. doi: 10.1017/S0144686X1600146X