Music Therapy According to Gary Ansdell Term Paper

Pages: 3 (990 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Music

Music Therapy

According to Gary Ansdell, the music "product" created through Creative Music Therapy is like a "magic mirror" that reflects "physical and emotional vistas," (128). The role of music in therapy has been explored in formal and informal contexts because, as Langer states, "most people connect feelings with music," (213). While listeners and musicians both undeniably and unavoidably associate emotions with music, music in itself is not necessarily emotive. Kivy describes the difference between expressing emotions that are actually there and being expressive of an objective emotional condition (257). Music by itself is a tool, and its instruments are means through which people can express their personal emotional states. However, the use of music in a therapeutic session works mainly because of the communication created through the client-therapist connection. Music is not just a form of self-expression, which would make music ego-centric and allow the client to remain insular. Ansdell emphasizes the importance of listening for the therapeutic process to be effective.

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Langer describes the various potential functions of music in a therapeutic context. First, music can be a form of pleasurable sensation. However, as Langer notes, many musical expressions are deliberately discordant and therefore not purely pleasurable. Therefore, music cannot be used in a therapeutic context as a means by which to evoke pleasure in a depressed client. Second, music can evoke an emotional response, any emotional response (211). Music can cause the heart rate to increase or decrease depending on tempo, for instance. Yet the enduring emotional and physiological effects of listening to music are questionable at best. Referring to scientific experiments, Langer states that music's "somatic effects are transient, and its moral hangovers or uplifts seem to be negligible," (212). Thus, listening to music in a therapeutic setting may not evoke any healing results.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Music Therapy According to Gary Ansdell, the Assignment

Two other potential functions of music in the therapeutic setting include playing music as a form of self-expression, and using the product of that self-expression as a symbolic code. Even here, Langer notes weaknesses in music therapy theory. For example, playing music allows for self-expression but more importantly, music demonstrates an "exposition of feeling," (221). The semantics underlying the musical composition may be as important, or more important, than the cathartic effects of self-expression that many music therapists advocate

Ansdell agrees and questions the "almost unquestioned assumption that music is a straightforward expression of feelings," (124). Kivy calls the same unquestioned assumption the tendency to describe music biographically, that is, to attribute certain emotional states to the composer. While the biographical description of music works in many cases, it is far from being universally applicable. Instead, Kivy urges music therapists to cease speculating about the composer's emotional state and reach a more objective means of appreciation and analysis. If the therapist hopes to "perceive something else" in the work other than the purely scientific elements of the music such as tone and notation, then the therapist must understand how music can be expressive of emotions (9). Music… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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