Music therapy- Edinburgh Summer 2009
How does Creative Music therapy work?
Spontaneous musical improvisation is at the heart of the Creative Music Therapy approach. Simple percussion or tuned instruments, such as piano or acoustic guitar, with the therapist’s own voice, are used to respond creatively to the sounds produced by the child, and encourage them to create his or her own musical language. Instruments are selected which, after the initial few sessions, the therapist finds the child is drawn to or at least does not find threatening. Some people have a strong preference for one type of sound and find others intolerable; this individualistic approach is one of the strengths of music therapy for people with autism. The aim is to create a context of sound within which a child feels comfortable and able to express himself, to experience a wider range of emotions, and to enjoy a two-way communicating relationship.
Simple songs or pieces in a variety of musical styles may become a recurring element in the therapy sessions, but are always used flexibly to suit the mood and clinical needs of the client at any given moment. In fact, music as therapy need not fall into conventional patterns or even use words; the therapist can respond to any vocal or physical responses from the child; these have definite rhythm and pitch and can be reflected in musical terms.
There are important differences between music therapy and music lessons. In the therapeutic context, a child is not taught to play any instrument, and while musical skills may be acquired in the course of the therapy sessions, this is a secondary effect and not the primary aim of the therapy.