Music Therapy : An art beyond words book cover
2nd Edition

Music Therapy
An art beyond words

ISBN 9780415450690
Published April 28, 2014 by Routledge
266 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Music therapy is recognised as being applicable to a wide range of healthcare and social contexts.  Since the first edition of Music Therapy: An art beyond words, it has extended into areas of general medicine, mainstream education and community practice. This new edition revises the historical and theoretical perspectives and recognises the growing evidence and research base in contemporary music therapy.

Leslie Bunt and Brynjulf Stige document the historical evolution of music therapy and place the practice within seven current perspectives: medical, behavioural, psychoanalytical, humanistic, transpersonal, culture-centred and music-centred. No single perspective, individual or group approach is privileged, although the focus on the use of sounds and music within therapeutic relationships remains central. Four chapters relate to areas of contemporary practice across different stages of the lifespan: child health, adolescent health, adult health and older adult health. All include case narratives and detailed examples underpinned by selected theoretical and research perspectives. The final two chapters of the book reflect on the evolution of the profession as a community resource and the emergence of music therapy as an academic discipline in its own right.

A concise introduction to the current practice of music therapy around the world, Music Therapy: An art beyond words is an invaluable resource for professionals in music therapy and music education, those working in the psychological therapies, social work and other caring professions, and students at all levels.

Table of Contents

List of Figures. Acknowledgements. Introduction: Formation and Form. The Growth of Music Therapy. Music Therapy Examples and Perspectives. Sound, Music and Music Therapy. Music Therapy and Child Health. Music Therapy and Adolescent Health. Music Therapy and Adult Health. Music Therapy and Older Adult Health. The Profession of Music Therapy: A resource for the community. The Discipline of Music Therapy: Toward an identity of hybridity? Concluding Points. Epilogue – Music Therapy: An art beyond words? References.

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Leslie Bunt is Professor in Music Therapy at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He is a Primary Trainer in Guided Imagery and Music and a freelance conductor. Leslie’s current practice and research interests focus on music therapy and adult cancer care, and his previous books include The Handbook of Music Therapy, co-edited with Sarah Hoskyns (Routledge, 2002).

Brynjulf Stige is Professor in Music Therapy at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen, Norway. He was founding editor of the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy and founding co-editor of Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. His previous books, including Invitation to Community Music Therapy, co-authored with Leif Edvard Aarø (Routledge, 2012), have explored relationships between music therapy, culture and community.


"Leslie Bunt and Brynjulf Stige have crafted an exceptional 'coming of age' book that thoroughly documents the developmental, cultural, and historical field of Music Therapy. Their book offers the first truly comprehensive treatment of a profession that spans the diversity of human conditions and cultures. It is a practical and a scholarly offering that also embraces the mysteries of Music Therapy as 'An Art beyond Words.'" - Carolyn Kenny, Ph.D., MT-BC, MTA

"The writing is clear, direct, and appealing throughout, drawing the reader into multiple facets and considerations. The book has a global perspective, both literally in terms of drawing examples and literature from a very broad geographic representation, and metaphorically in dealing with the full range of issues concerning music therapy, including treatment, training, research, and the evolving social role of the music therapist. The book is insightful, intellectually broad and pluralistic, contemporary, and poetic. […] Like good guides who use representative stories to help tourists grasp the significance and context of what they see, Bunt and Stige provide the narratives and broad contexts that will serve as a fine introduction to the vast contemporary landscape of music therapy." – Kenneth Aigen, New York University