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Thinking about Group Music Making

I recently finished reading the book “Culture-centered Music Therapy” by Brynjulf Stige. I was expecting a discussion of how awareness of a person’s ethnic and religious background can inform our therapeutic approach. While the author did touch on these subjects, his idea of culture was much broader. There is a shared culture for the entire human race but there are also cultures of research and cultures of therapy. As a relatively new profession, Music Therapy often borrows from the theories of psychology and medicine. Dr. Stige is very well read and taps into other professional theories. However, instead of merely borrowing, he attempts to synthesize the beginnings of music therapy specific theory. He argues that therapy should not be confined to a room in a clinic but take place in and incorporate the client’s environment. He admits that quantitative research has its place but suggests that qualitative elements be included as well. No subject or researcher can be totally isolated from their environment, upbringing, etc. and that should figure into the data we collect. It should be noted that Dr Stige is from Norway, which is a much more collectivized society with socialized medicine. Many of the projects he undertakes simply would not be paid for here in the US. I believe that taking a client’s environment into account is extremely important. However, there are also privacy laws and professional boundaries to be taken into consideration. That being said, I would like to see more integrated community experiences available here in Lincoln. I’m excited to see that the Lincoln Ukulele Group, the LUGNuts, will be playing at the Friendship club this week. Will they just be playing for the people who attend or will there be shared music making?

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