"Music triggered a healing process from within me. I started singing for the joy of singing myself and it helped me carry my recovery beyond the state I was in before I fell ill nine years ago to a level of well-being that I haven't had perhaps for thirty years."
This book explores the experiences of people who took part in a vibrant musical community for people experiencing mental health difficulties, SMART (St Mary Abbotts Rehabilitation and Training). Ansdell (a music therapist/researcher) and DeNora (a music sociologist) describe their long-term ethnographic work with this group, charting the creation and development of a unique music project that won the 2008 Royal Society for Public Health Arts and Health Award. Ansdell and DeNora track the 'musical pathways' of a series of key people within SMART, focusing on changes in health and social status over time in relation to their musical activity. The book includes the voices and perspectives of project members and develops with them a new understanding of how music promotes their health and wellbeing. A contemporary ecological understanding of 'music and change' is outlined, drawing on and further developing theory from music sociology and Community Music Therapy. This innovative book will be of interest to anyone working in the mental health field, but also music therapists, sociologists, musicologists, music educators and ethnomusicologists. This volume completes a three part 'triptych', alongside the other volumes, Music Asylums: Wellbeing Through Music in Everyday Life, and How Music Helps: In Music Therapy and Everyday Life.
’This is a beautifully written and meticulously researched book by two of the most influential and innovative thinkers researching the links between music and health. It is concisely and clearly written in a style that will have broad appeal and combines psychological and sociological insights with descriptions of practical activities in a sophisticated yet entertaining way. I really enjoyed reading it and will recommend it to all my students, colleagues and indeed anyone interested in understanding more about how everyday music activities can have deep and profound effects on how we think and feel.’ Raymond Macdonald, University of Edinburgh, UK
List of Figures
Part I - Musical Pathways
Part II - Continuous Outcomes
Part III - Musical Recovery
Coda by Sarah Wilson
Appendix A: About Method: How we wrote this book
Appendix B: How we negotiated the ethics of this project
Music and Change: Ecological Perspectives, is a cross-disciplinary, topic-led series for scholars and practitioners. Its aim is to explore the question of how, where and when music makes a difference. If music is a dynamic ingredient of change, what are the processes and mechanisms associated with music’s powers, and how can ecological perspectives help us to understand music in action? Book proposals are welcome in any of the following areas: healthcare, social policy, political activism, psychiatry, embodiment, mind and consciousness, community relations, education and informal learning, management and organizational cultures, trauma, memory and commemoration, theories of action, self-help, conflict and conflict resolution, the life course, spirituality and religion, disability studies, palliative care, social criticism, governance, resistance, protest, and utopian communities.