Playin’ in the band…

A few months ago I read this book “Playin’ in the Band” (Kenneth Aigen), with accompanying DVD, it’s a detailed case-study from the 90’s featuring Lloyd and his music with two music therapists at Nordoff-Robbins New York.  In the DVD excerpts from sessions spanning several years you can see relationships develop between Lloyd and the music therapists as they play a range of rock, blues, country and more. It’s highly recommended if you can get access to a copy.

This book came to mind today as I was talking to someone who asked what music genres appear in therapy – in the literature it stands out as a contemporary or ‘pop’ example among the classical and traditional music usually mentioned. For example, in Healing Heritage by Nordoff & Robbins, “During his lectures, Nordoff illustrated points with live musical examples, many from the classical repertoire”.

In the past, music therapists were typically classically trained, and this would influence the music they played in sessions. These days, music therapists come from a wider range of backgrounds, and that is bound to have an impact on the music used. Clearly there’s no limit to what styles or genres may appear in music therapy – particularly in sessions where the client brings their own music – and the therapist works with what they bring.

The BAMT website states “Music therapists work with the natural musicality styles and genres including free improvisation to offer appropriate, sensitive and meaningful musical interaction with their clients”.

This could take many forms, so every little bit of music may have potential – and it’s a reminder to me to open up and absorb as much music as I can :)


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