1st Edition

The Study of Music Therapy: Current Issues and Concepts

ISBN 9780415626415
Published December 7, 2013 by Routledge
262 Pages

USD $60.95

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Book Description

This book addresses the issues in music therapy that are central to understanding it in its scholarly dimensions, how it is evolving, and how it connects to related academic disciplines. It draws on a multi-disciplinary approach to look at the defining issues of music therapy as a scholarly discipline, rather than as an area of clinical practice. It is the single best resource for scholars interested in music therapy because it focuses on the areas that tend to be of greatest interest to them, such as issues of definition, theory, and the function of social context, but also does not assume detailed prior knowledge of the subject.

Some of the topics discussed include defining the nature of music therapy, its relation to current and historical uses of music in human well-being, and considerations on what makes music therapy work. Contemporary thinking on the role of neurological theory, early interaction theory, and evolutionary considerations in music therapy theory are also reviewed. Within each of these areas, the author presents an overview of the development of thinking, discusses contrasting positions, and offers a personalized synthesis of the issue. The Study of Music Therapy is the only book in music therapy that gathers all the major issues currently debated in the field, providing a critical overview of the predominance of opinions on these issues.

Table of Contents

1. The Identity of the Music Therapy Profession  2. The Identity of the Professional Music Therapist: Roles and Related Disciplines  3. Psychodynamic, Social, and Music-Centered Perspectives on Music  4. Musical Styles in Music Therapy: Culture, Identity, and the Nature of Change  5. The Medium of Music and Clinical Goals  6. The Relationship between Clinical and Nonclinical Music  7. The Role of Verbalization in Music Therapy.  8. The Client-Therapist Relationship in Music Therapy  9. Music Therapy and Traditional Healing Practices: Definitional Issues  10. Music Therapy and Traditional Healing Practices: Clinical Applications  11. Community Music Therapy: Origins and Definitional Issues  12. Perspectives on Performance in Community Music Therapy  13. Early Interaction Theory and Music Therapy  14. Neurological Science and Music Therapy  15. Evolutionary Theory and Music Therapy  16. An Overview of Current Music Therapy Frameworks  17. A Comparative Analysis of Current Music Therapy Frameworks

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Kenneth Aigen is an associate professor in music therapy at New York University. He is president of the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy (NRMT) Foundation and the International Trust for NRMT. He is a past–president of the American Association for Music Therapy and a recipient of the Research and Publications Award from the American Music Therapy Association.


Aigen’s latest work is a tour de force that considers over fifty years of scholarship in Music Therapy. It represents a coming of age treatment that will introduce readers from many disciplines to the depth, complexities, discourses and debates that occupy our continuous challenge to understand and articulate the critical and transformative role of music in our lives. Carolyn Kenny, Professor of Human Development and Indigenous Studies, Antioch University, USA

Kenneth Aigen skillfully performs a thought-provoking examination of a number of debates within the discourse of music therapy. He promotes a pluralistic outlook but does not step back from substantial critique of positions he finds problematic. We have, then, a challenging yet inviting book we should read with care and imagination. – Brynjulf Stige, Professor in Music Therapy at the University of Bergen, and Head of Research at GAMUT – The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre, UoB and Uni Health, Uni Research, Norway

I highly recommend this text to all music therapists, and others interested in understanding theoretical underpinnings of our field. - Clare O’Callaghan, Music Therapist and Honorary Associate Professor, University of Melbourne

In this philosophical treatment, Aigen (New York Univ.; president of the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Foundation and past president of the American Association for Music Therapy) takes an academic approach to defining and discussing the issues of this multidimensional profession...the volume includes tables and an extensive bibliography. Summing Up: Recommended. - V. S. Xenakis, formerly,  State University of New York College at Cortland in CHOICE

The Study of Music Therapy: Current Issues and Concepts is a groundbreaking publication from Ken Aigen, one of the most pro-lific scholars in our field...This book is invaluable for practicing music therapists and for professionals outside the field who have a scholarly interest in music therapy...I strongly recommend this book. - Lisa Summer, Anna Maria College

The text should assist music therapists to locate and articulate theoretical stances informing their work, conceptualisation of their value, and potentially increase tolerance and shared understanding. . . . . I highly recommend this text to all music therapists, and others interested in understanding theoretical underpinnings of our field. -Australian Journal of Music Therapy

This book is a welcome addition to the scholarly music therapy (MT) literature. I cannot think of anything similar, and yet it is obvious that such a book is needed. It presents, discusses, and synthesizes topics that are rarely found in existing books or articles. . . . Aigen is a well-read and up-to-date scholar, so there is plenty of inspiration and discussion material in every part and chapter. . . . Aigen loves debate, and he is excellent in finding poignant formulations for standpoints that are not always easily formulated or properly distinguished. I think all topics are well chosen as related to the dialogical purpose of the book, the intention of multidisciplinary exchange and understanding. - Lars Ole Bonde, Nordic Journal of Music Therapy