Back to coursework: Go to the book

I’ve been looking at Kenneth Bruscia’s Defining Music Therapy (second edition) over the past few days in order to research a little for a project a colleague of mine and I are doing. I am, again, struck by how lovely vision (and clarity of said vision) can be. For more than a year, I’ve been transitioning into and therefore learning about another way of practicing music therapy. Should you happen to own this particular Bruscia book, I’m specifically interested in pages 116 and 117. Page 116 lists some of the clinical goals of improvisation:

  • Establish a nonverbal channel of communication, and a bridge to verbal communication
  • Provide a fulfilling means of self-expression and identity formation
  • Explore various aspects of self in relation to others
  • Develop the capacity for interpersonal intimacy
  • Develop group skills
  • Develop creativity, expressive freedom, spontaneity, and playfulness with various degrees of structure
  • Stimulate and develop the senses
  • Develop perceptual and cognitive skills

I am especially drawn to his first, second, third, and sixth bullet points. Nearly all of my clients do not use speech, and, in music, I am hoping to facilitate a “channel of communication” (page 116).

To you readers who are not music therapists: Do any of these goals surprise you? How so? 

To you readers who are music therapists: How do you remember this text? I’m back in love with it.

4 Replies to “Back to coursework: Go to the book”

  1. I love this book! I had not remembered these goals, so thank you for posting this. Bruscia has the gift of organizing complex concepts so that they are clearly articulated. I very closely relate to his definition of music therapy, the emphasis on the relationship and music as dynamic forces of change.

  2. Bruscia is great. I really appreciate all of this book’s content, but the goals laid out in “improvisation” are my favorite.

  3. I love this book as well. It’s so readable and so relatable. This is definitely a great book to read and reread and highlight and bookmark. #6 is definitely my favorite and feels pertinent at all times.

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