Secular Music and Young People’s Spirituality

This dissertation explores how the impact of secular music in young people’s lives affects their spirituality. The definition of spirituality referred to is that of James (1902/1961, as cited by Zinnbauer et al, 1997) who defined it as the way the people feel, act toward and experience their idea of a divinity. While there has already been some academic research into the way music impacts the emotional development of young people and some research into the impact of spiritual or religious music on spirituality, there has not been much formal research into the impact that music has on the spirituality of young people.

Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the impact that secular music had, specifically on young people who had an established relationship with a Church. Research was gathered applying a mixed-method approach with 20 questionnaires and 4 interviews being from young people across two different churches. The data was then analysed using a thematic analysis approach.

The findings of this research pointed to three main themes which highlighted how secular music impacted the spirituality of young people through: Secular music reminding young people of God’s attributes, Secular music increasing young people’s gratitude towards God and Secular music challenging young people’s faith. However, the most significant finding is the relationship and intermingling between the three themes and the understanding that the themes cannot be viewed in total isolation and that each theme directly impacts the others.

Dave Cutteridge

Dave studied with MCYM for 3 years achieving a first class BA (Hons) in Youth and  Community Work and Practical Theology