You are welcome to sign up for this e-course any time before the last day, February 28. After you do, you will find in your account an archive of the sessions covered so far, and you can read them online or resend them to yourself.

John Lennon once said that he never really felt anything until he heard Elvis Presley. We understand. Popular music functions as a tutor in emotional life and as a sacred text for many in the world today. For some it is an adjunct to participating in organized religion and for others an alternative to such participation, providing touches of transcendence outside traditional "religious" channels.

In this e-course Byrd McDaniel and Jay McDaniel introduce different forms of contemporary popular music, showing how they are linked with forms of spirituality highlighted in the "Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy" of Spirituality & Practice. You will receive two emails a week, one from Byrd and one from Jay, which will contain:

  • A thematic focus to help you take a deep dive into a particular subgenre or case study of contemporary popular music — from hip hop to glitch pop, from death metal to indie rock, from vaporwave to electronic dance music.
  • Practice suggestions and an opportunity to be part of a Practice Circle open 24/7 for you to share your reflections, hear from others in our worldwide community, and ask questions of Byrd and Jay.

Along the way, we will explore the works of many important contemporary artists, including Beyoncé, Jason Isbell, Sufjan Stevens, Kendrick Lamar, M.I.A., Adele, and X Ambassadors, contextualizing their work within musical traditions of the past and present. Byrd, completing his PhD at Brown University in Ethnomusicology, introduces the topics and Jay, his father, shows how they couple with the wisdom of world’s many spiritual traditions.

The weekly topics are:

1. Perspectives on Popular Music
2. Empathy
3. Spontaneity
4. Bodily pleasure
5. Grief
6. Traditions
7. Transcendence
8. The Global Context: How Music Moves

Jay McDaniel is the Willis Holmes Professor of Religious Studies at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, the author of several books, and editor of the website Open Horizons ( Byrd is a PhD candidate at Brown University. He researches popular music reception and has taught courses at Tufts University, Brown University, and the University of Alabama.

We look forward to you joining us in January! To register for this e-course, click on the "Subscribe to E-Course" button below. If you need financial help to attend this e-course, please write to us.

(8 CEHs for Chaplains available.)

Monday, January 7 - Thursday, February 28


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