Virtual Book Club: Chapter 7 Music-Centered Thinking in Contemporary Music Therapy Frameworks

Virtual Book ClubChapter 7 is about music therapy frameworks, rather than approaches, that can be considered music-centered. Aigen highlights Aesthetic Music Therapy, Community Music Therapy, and Culture-Centered Music Therapy. He refers to these as contemporary music therapy approaches, as opposed to those developed in the 1960s and 1970s, like Nordoff-Robbins, and Analytic MT.

Aesthetic Music Therapy, originated by Colin Lee, is derived or developed from Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy. It focuses on musical form and improvisation as searching.

Community Music Therapy is an approach that focuses on music-making within a community. So the music therapist would assist members of a community in participating and integrating into the community through music.

Culture-Centered Music Therapy focuses on the culture within which a client is living or identifies.

I’ve always had difficulty differentiating between a theory, an approach, and a framework. Here’s my synthesis of the three:

A theory is a generalized explanation of how something works. Music Therapy theories might include Biomedical or Complexity Science.

An approach is a body of techniques for a way something works. In music therapy, approaches would include Neurologic or Nordoff-Robbins.

A framework is a way to conceptualize and organize ideas about how something works. I suppose the examples of frameworks in music therapy would be the ones listed above from this chapter. So would this mean that someone could practice community music therapy using a neurologic music therapy approach within the theory of complexity science?

I’m not sure. I’m also not sure why music-centered approaches have to exclude biomedical theory, for example. My understanding of music and biology/neurology is that they work well together, otherwise, I would not be a music therapist.

If you have a better understanding of all of this, I would appreciate your explanation! You can comment or email me, if you like.