Where Music Helps: Community Music Therapy in Action and Reflection: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Where Music Helps: Community Music Therapy in Action and Reflection

1st Edition

By Brynjulf Stige, Gary Ansdell, Mercédès Pavlicevic


364 pages

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Paperback: 9781409410102
pub: 2010-05-28
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This book explores how people may use music in ways that are helpful for them, especially in relation to a sense of wellbeing, belonging and participation. The central premise for the study is that help is not a decontextualized effect that music produces. The book contributes to the current discourse on music, culture and society and it is developed in dialogue with related areas of study, such as music sociology, ethnomusicology, community psychology and health promotion. Where Music Helps describes the emerging movement that has been labelled Community Music Therapy, and it presents ethnographically informed case studies of eight music projects (localized in England, Israel, Norway, and South Africa). The various chapters of the book portray "music's help" in action within a broad range of contexts; with individuals, groups and communities - all of whom have been challenged by illness or disability, social and cultural disadvantage or injustice. Music and musicing has helped these people find their voice (literally and metaphorically); to be welcomed and to welcome, to be accepted and to accept, to be together in different and better ways, to project alternative messages about themselves or their community and to connect with others beyond their immediate environment. The overriding theme that is explored is how music comes to afford things in concert with its environments, which may suggest a way of accounting for the role of music in music therapy without reducing music to a secondary role in relation to the "therapeutic," that is, being "just" a symbol of psychological states, a stimulus, or a text reflecting socio-cultural content.


'This remarkable book, which describes results from an international, multi-sited study of community music therapy, conceptualizes music therapy as social action and as interaction in particular contexts. The eight case studies it presents show us that, far from being like a drug, music’s healing powers emerge from within communities of practice. Where Music Helps shows us where and how music offers us ways of making environments hospitable, often under the deceptively simple rubric of having fun.' Tia DeNora, Professor of Sociology of Music, University of Exeter, UK ’… an enjoyable read… A valuable resource in sociology, education, and community-service studies, as well as music… highly recommended.’ Choice '… single situations are described in the book with which the reader can feel touched by and can share this special CoMT experience and results. In a unique way this book brings together practice and theory. It is highly recommended for music therapy clinicians, researchers and students.' Approaches

Table of Contents

Contents: Part I: Introduction: music and health in community; Situating authors and projects; Initial dialogue, Brynjulf Stige, Gary Ansdell, Cochavit Elefant and Mercédès Pavlicevic. Part II: Action: musicing on the edge: musical minds in East London, England; Reflection: belonging through musicing: explorations of musical community, Gary Ansdell. Part III: Action: - must we really end? Community integration of children in Raanana, Israel; Reflection: musical inclusion, intergroup relations, and community development, Cochavit Elefant. Part IV: Action: because it's cool. Community music therapy in Heideveld, South Africa; Reflection: let the music work: optimal moments of collaborative musicing, Mercédès Pavlicevic. Part V: Action: a society for all? The cultural festival in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway; Reflection: musical participation, social space, and everyday ritual, Brynjulf Stige. Part VI: Action: can everything become music? Scrap Metal in southern England; Reflection: where performing helps: processes and affordances of performance in community music therapy, Gary Ansdell. Part VII: Action: whose voice is heard? Performances and voices in the Renanim Choir in Israel; Reflection: giving voice: participatory action research with a marginalized group, Cochavit Elefant. Part VIII: Action: music in an ambiguous place: youth development outreach in Eersterust, South Africa; Reflection: crime, community, and everyday practice: music therapy as social activism, Mercédès Pavlicevic. Part IX: Action: caring for music: the Senior Choir in Sandane, Norway; Reflection: practising music as mutual care, Brynjulf Stige. Part X: Conclusion: when things take shape in relation to music: towards an ecological perspective on music's help, Brynjulf Stige, Gary Ansdell, Cochavit Elefant and Mercédès Pavlicevic; Bibliography; Index.

About the Authors

Brynjulf Stige, PhD, is Professor in Music Therapy at the University of Bergen and Head of Research at GAMUT, The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre, Uni Health. Gary Ansdell, PhD, is Director of Education at Nordoff-Robbins, UK and Co-Director of the MA in Music Therapy (Community Music Therapy / Nordoff-Robbins). Cochavit Elefant, PhD is Associate Professor in Music Therapy at the University of Bergen. Mercédès Pavlicevic, PhD, is Director of Research at Nordoff-Robbins, UK and Associate Professor in Music Therapy at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. .

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General