The Rev Prof June Boyce-Tillman MBE read Music at Hugh’s College, Oxford, and took a PGCE at London University Institute of Education. She taught in primary and secondary schools in London and at the Inner London Education Authority’s Centre for Young Musicians, where she pioneered the General Musicianship programme. She pioneered work in introducing composing activities into the classroom which resulted in the book ‘Exploring Sound’, which is still in print and widely used. She gave up full time employment to look after her two children in 1973 using this time to research music making in playgroups and mother and baby and toddler groups in South London.
In 1986 she completed a PhD (Towards a Model of the Musical Development of Children) at the Institute of Education. The results of this research have been translated into Dutch, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese and Polish, and she has lectured, given papers, and led workshops in many parts of the world for teachers and schools. June presented many broadcasts for BBC Schools Radio, and was Warden of the Music in Education Section of the Incorporated Society of Musicians. She was also a part-time lecturer at the Institute of Education on the PGCE course. She completed a number of publications for schools involving composing/improvising such as Mrs Macaroni and Kokoleoko. This resulted in numerous academic articles on this subject especially in the area of Early Childhood Music Education, becoming a Commissioner for the Early Childhood Commission of the International Society for Music Education. She has been widely consulted internationally in music education, for example, with Australian Capital Territory, Wandsworth Borough Council on their plan for musical development in the borough and the Northern Ireland National Curriculum Committee on Music.
She is now producing large scale works which contain spaces for compositions/improvisations such as The Healing of the Earth which has been performed in the US and UK and pieces which contain spaces for improvisations in various styles such as The Call of the Ancestors and PeaceSong. Step into the Picture was performed in the Anvil Concert Hall, Basingstoke with three hundred children and the Southern Sinfonia in March 2008.
June has a particular interest in Music and Spirituality, including¬ Religious Education, and regularly writes and takes workshops linking these areas together. Because of this experience she became an associate editor in this area with the publisher Stainer and Bell. June also founded the Hildegard Network, which is concerned with bringing together the areas of healing, the arts and theology, and regularly runs workshops linking these areas together. Her interest in hymnody developed and, with the Rev Dr Janet Wootton collected material by women to produce Reflecting Praise. She carried on researching in this area producing several articles and papers and contributing to BBC programmes such as Songs of Praise. Her latest book In Tune with heaven or not – Women in Christian Liturgical Music collects together all her work in this area, including twenty interviews with women of various Christian traditions.
For thirty years she has written hymns and songs and chants on feminist liturgical themes. This resulted in the hymn/song collection A Rainbow to Heaven. Archbishop John Sentamu used one for his inauguration as Archbishop of York. She also composed a text for a piece by Sir John Tavener performed in St Paul’s Cathedral in the presence of the Queen in May 2008. She is, at present, setting up the Tavener Centre for the study of Music and Spirituality. She is working on a single authored book on Spirituality in the Musical Experience to be published in the series on Music and Spirituality that she is editing for the publisher Peter Lang. She was ordained an Anglican Priest in 2006 and serves in several London parishes as well as becoming an honorary chaplain at Winchester Cathedral.
June has done pioneering work in interfaith dialogue in South London and was Research Officer for an EEC Intercultural project based at the Institute of Education. She has written articles¬ and spoken on interfaith and intercultural links in both Britain and abroad, and has written widely on music as a tool for peace-making. It finally led to the event Space for Peace an event involving 400 people from various faiths held annually in Winchester Cathedral, which has also been done in Bournemouth, Hackney and the Hindu Temple in Southampton. This has been the subject of many articles and book chapters. Her interest in the potential power of music as a tool for reconciliation now includes radical musical inclusivity with her latest piece in Winchester Cathedral From Conflict to Chorus, which involves orate and literate musicians, people with dementia, young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties, community choirs, school children and university choirs.
June has both written and spoken much on women’s role in music and has encouraged the promotion of music by women. She is a composer, whose works have been performed in various cathedrals in the UK, including Southwark, Winchester, Norwich, and Westminster Abbey, and in other countries including; Australia, Poland, Germany, Zimbabwe, and the US. Her research into the medieval abbess, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) has underpinned much of her work. Such music theatre pieces have been performed as part of the Chard Festival of Women’s Music. June also performs her own one woman shows, specialising in women mystics.
Her inclusive frame for musicking also underpinned the establishment of Foundation Music at the University of Winchester – an extra-curricular raft of musical activities. The first principle was to enrich the student experience by a variety of inclusive musical experiences (embracing cultural diversity and including student led and student initiated ensembles). Thus Foundation Music embraced the idea of an inclusive, supportive community of learners. There are no auditions, the students choosing appropriate ensembles. The second principle was to forge links with the local and national community through performance events involving local community groups including schools and the third to serve local charities. The fourth principle involved supporting the liturgical life of the university and beyond.
She has explored the way in which various cultures have used music as a tool for healing – including medieval European music, shaman and spirit possession cults, the so-called New Age and Western music therapy. The text – Constructing Musical Healing – has been seminal in this area informing the development of academic courses in music and well-being and resulting in numerous workshops internationally. It has led to the establishment of the Winchester Centre for the Arts as Wellbeing. This has gradually developed from a group of academic staff to an organisation involving local artists working in this area and representatives of the local health and wellbeing board and the local hospitals. It has involved conducting evaluations of projects in this area (as with Elevate in Salisbury hospital) and setting up arts project like the Singing for Wellbeing choir. It now has a Centre leader, a number of Research and Knowledge Exchange Fellows, a post-doctoral researcher and a Visiting Professor. It runs regular public seminars, the most recent being on Dance and Parkinson’s Disease.
In 1994 she was appointed as a Reader at the University of Winchester with a brief to develop research at what was then King Alfred’s College. As part of this role she developed a supervisor training programme and many of the procedures and practices at Winchester. In 2009-13 she was appointed Head of Postgraduate Research and was responsible for writing the regulations when the University of Winchester took on its own research degree awarding powers. She introduced the programme of Professional Doctorates.
June is currently Professor of Applied Music at the University of Winchester and an Extraordinary Professor at North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa. She is the artistic convenor of the Winchester Centre for the Arts as Wellbeing. In 2009 June received an MBE for her services to Music and Education.
You can download a PDF copy of June’s professional CV by clicking on this link(opens in new window).