Virtual Book Club: Origins and Foundations of Music-Centered Music Therapy

Virtual Book ClubClick to purchase Music-Centered Music Therapy

Click to read my posts on Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

Chapter 3 was difficult to read for me, probably because the author is still trying to justify or explain the reasoning behind his theory, using some jargon, and I’m reading it while trying to take care of my kid and manage other things going on in life.

This chapter was the first in Part II, The Nature of Music-Centered Theory and Practice. The first half of the chapter focused on describing music as medium and music as means. Music used as a means to an end, the author proposes, is when music is used to achieve non-musical goals–a definition of music therapy you’ll often hear from music therapy students. In the music-centered approach, music is the medium, meaning that the emphasis is on the inherent benefits of musical and musically based experiences.

The second half of the chapter focused on explaining how music improvisation in music therapy sessions can be no different, musically, than the music improvisation in jazz combos or other compositions created for music performances.

The statement that stood out to me, was this quote on page 51:

The music-centered perspective cannot be represented simply, as there is no official doctrine or set of beliefs and practices that define the approach.

And this one on page 55:

In order to counter the belief that the music-centered position represents a regressive force in music therapy, it is essential for music-centered practitioners to (1) articulate as fully as possible the inherent value of clinically directed musical experiences; (2) create music-centered theory based upon the meaning of these experiences for recipients of music therapy services; (3) explain clearly what it is that makes their work therapy; and (4) emphasize that music-centered positions do not prohibit verbal interaction with clients or mandate performance as a clinical vehicle, but instead provide a conceptual model of practice where verbalization is not always necessary and clinical interactions can take place outside of the session room.

In my discussions about this with music therapists who practice from this perspective, they haven’t been able to do (1) or (3) from the above quote very well. Hence, their recommendation that in order for my questions about this approach to be answered by reading this book. Perhaps that can be explained by the first quote.

I would very much appreciate other people participating in this discussion with me, because I am stuck with my own viewpoint when I analyze these chapters on my own. I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions about this book, so that I might expand my viewpoint and understanding beyond my own limitations and biases. Are you reading the book? Please comment and let me know!