Therapist(s) and client(s). The therapist conducts research to identify modes of interventions (often, though not always overtly musical) that cultivate desired outcomes for the client. They have a plan. There is a strong Humanistic backdrop, so from the outset the client is recognised in their full humanness, with all the complexity and uniqueness that entails, and likewise the therapist. They are on an even footing and the therapist is ready to drop the plan and be present for the client, two humans at play.
My gut instinct, dear reader, is of course music therapy works! I have benefitted from playing music, and witnessed its positive influence on countless others, over 30 years of a freelance career in music performance.
Music therapy is performed in clinics. I've worked in Universities. There are big budgets, institutional hierarchies, conflicting agendas, client populations... Music therapy needs to account for itself - how does it work? Does it work? What is therapy? What is music? Great questions in context, yet also, I wonder, potentially obscuring an intuitive knowing we attribute to being musical.
A methodological approach is applied (e.g. Nordof Robins). Sessions are planned and recorded (audio and video). The session happens - a bunch of humans playing together. The session is reflected on and analysed. Data is extracted and evidence is collected. The therapist too is under supervision. There is interpretation and comparison. The plan evolves as new content comes to light, and the goal post shifts. It is evidence based. Papers are written for journals. Books are published.
I am excited to explore this practice that seems Human centred at its heart, and science focused in its articulations.