Music Therapy News, 3 September 2010

An afternoon discovering, exploring and analyzing:
The Music found in Music Therapy
Dr Alan Lem
The Golden Stave Music Therapy Centre

Proudly sponsored by The Australian Lodge of Harmony No. 5

Presented with the assistance of the

United Grand Lodge of NSW and ACT

and the Sydney Masonic Centre

A short presentation of Music Therapy by Dr Lam assisted by our brother Ian Cox , followed by demonstration of how the audience playing  musical instruments, singing and/or improvising as part of a group.  We were amazed how uplifting and therapeutic the process is, much better than just a passive observer or listener.

Music Therapy

Dr Alan Lem

Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia

and University of Western Sydney

“music expresses that which cannot be be said and on which it is impossible to be silent” – Victor Hugo (1802Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885)

Brief History of Modern Music Therapy

1944 -First music therapy training program in the US

1958 -British Society for Music Therapy

1975 -The Australian Music Therapy Association

Music therapy training is now available in over 46 countries

Music Therapy in Australia

1950 – A Music Therapy Committee formed in Victoria

1960 – Ruth Bright starts work in Melbourne

1970 – Denise Grocke trains in the USA and returns to Australia

1970 – First formal music therapy post established in Victoria

1974 – Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins visit Australia

1975 – Australian Music Therapy Association founded

1978 – Training in Music Therapy opens at the University of Melbourne

General Philosophical Background


•Behavioural psychology

•Humanistic psychology

•Transpersonal psychology

Two Models of Music Therapy

Receptive – music is being “applied”, prescribed or used to facilitate a therapeutic process. The music can be either improvised or prerecorded but the client is not presumed to take active part in music making.

Expressive – the client is presumed to take active part in music making:

-composition, e.g. song writing;

-playing and/or improvising solo, e.g. to express feelings, etc;

-playing and/or improvising a duet with the therapist (verbal or non-verbal communication);

-playing and/or improvising as part of a group.

Music Therapy

In music therapy, music and/or its elements are used in a process designed to address the person’s emotional, physical, social, cognitive and spiritual needs. Music therapy aims to support, develop potentials, and/or restore functions of the person so that he or she can achieve better intra and/or interpersonal integration and, consequently, a better quality of life.

Another way…

•allied health discipline -using music to facilitate positive changes in the life of a client

•music is used in a planned and creative way to address the physical, psychological, cognitive, emotional and social needs of clients

•Develop new skills – musical and non-musical – and bring about changes that maybe extended to other areas of the person’s life


•Guided Imagery and Music – Helen Bonny Model A music-centred psychoanalysis using specifically prepared classical music.

•Analytical Music Therapy – Priestley Model Clients initiate verbally their ideas which become a basis for musical improvisation

•Free Improvisation – Alvin approach Music and sounds are not written beforehand

•Behavioural Music Therapy The use of music as a cue, reward or time-structure;

•Music Medicine  The application of music and music therapy to prevent or treat medical conditions;

•Creative Music Therapy – Nordoff and Robbins approach.

Creative Music Therapy

A form of improvisational music therapy developed in the fifties and sixties by Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins who pioneered the use of music improvisation as a means of communication with severely disabled children. The fundamental premise of Creative Music Therapy rests with the belief that musical response is an intrinsic human trait and that every person, regardless of his/her physical or emotional condition, can engage in musical interaction with another person.

… Improvised live music to build a relationship between therapist and clients where clients actively participate in, interact and communicate directlythrough music.

Out of this interaction therapeutic goals are identified by the therapist and evaluated through regular session recordings on video and/or audio.

The diversity of music therapy

Where? Who? Goals?
• Hospitals •children & adults with physical, intellectual,emotional & sensory impairments •Educational
• Schools •Rehabilitative
• Rehabilitation centre’s •psychotherapeutic
•Nursing homes •Senior citizens •Physical needs
•Residential centre’s •Emotional needs
•Day centre’s •Intellectual needs
• hospices •Terminally ill patients •Social needs
• Private practices •General population •recreational


I Have a Song to Sing

I have a song to sing, every day, every day

I have a song to sing, let me sing my song

Days make a week

Weeks make a month

Months make a year

Years make a lifetime

I have a song to sing, every day, every day

I have a song to sing, let me sing my song!

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