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Music Therapy – Intimate Notes

This is a beautiful and easy to read book, providing an insight into the ‘music therapy journey’. In this book, you will read nine stories from nine different music therapists. Each story is written down almost as an ‘oral’ text, followed by reflections from the author.
Music therapy – Intimate Notes by Mercedes Pavicevic

Intimate Notes

This is a beautiful and easy to read book, providing an insight into the ‘music therapy journey’

In this book, you will read nine stories from nine different music therapists. Each story is written down almost as an ‘oral’ text, followed by reflections from the author.

This book covers a breadth of music therapy practice. The music therapists interviewed in the book varied in age and experience, and the clients presented ranged from very young children to older adults at the end of their lives.

As the author notes, ‘this book does not attempt to portray all aspects of music therapy practice, nor is it an academic/theoretical text … the text aims, rather, to fill a gap created by existing music therapy books…that may leave the lay reader somewhat puzzled as to what ‘goes on’ inside the music therapy room.’

Reflecting on one of the stories, Pavlicevic discusses connections between music, our outward actions and our inner being and emotions:

We all know, intuitively perhaps, that music is much more than just sounds put together, or pretty tunes. Music makes us feel: high, low, slow, speeded up – we recognize our own feelings in music and we respond to music with feeling. Some music ‘sounds sad’, we say – but how do we know? Where is the feeling of sadness – is it really in the music? Or is it in us – and if it is in us, then why do we say that it is the music that sounds sad (or joyful or angry or whatever)?
Composers, philosophers and psychologists talk about music portraying the very qualities of our emotional lives: the essential qualities of who we are. We recognize these qualities and respond to them when we listen to music, which is why it is so powerfully significant to many of us (whether we are ‘musical’ or not). For example, our essential self may – at different times – be vivacious/limpid, rough/smooth, cloying/darting, strong/brittle, expansive/narrow. These essential qualities underpin our feeling lives as well as our ways f expressing ourselves and relating to others. Thus, our sorrow may be a rough, tempestuous, strong sorrow, expressed through movements and sounds with those very qualities: our movements, voices, gestures, acts will be rough, tempestuous and strong. Someone else might express sorrow in a way that is brittle and dispersed, with corresponding acts, gestures and vocal sounds. In other words, how we express ourselves – and how we express any of our many feelings – depends on who we are and how we are essentially.

This idea is significant for music therapy, because it suggests that by engaging with someone’s musical expression we are also engaging with elements of their inner being. Do you think this idea is valid for people around you, or for yourself – that the character of outward expression is connected to the character of inner being? On the other hand, might the ways people express themselves in music be different in character to their expression in other contexts?

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An Introduction to the Nordoff Robbins approach to Music Therapy

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