Music Therapy Seminar, 08-10-2013

Posted by Gabrielle "Gaby" Berbey on August 18, 2013 at 3:45 AM

I have always questioned this notion of the “birth of an idea”, this assumption that ideas spring out of nowhere in full form with no previous foundation. I believe that an idea is a specific enmeshing of thoughts and observations, a unique combination of both individual and general understandings. An idea can never emerge out of thin air, nor can it ever be solidified. Like humans, an idea is in a constant state of evolution, continuously transforming and adapting with surrounding ideas.


The idea of music therapy has no real concrete inception. Although there are monumental dates when, for example, music therapy became formally legitimized and recognized by health professionals, the idea itself has no real conception. From musicians playing for veterans shortly after WWI, to the writings of Plato and Aristotle, where they eluded to the healing powers of music, the concept of music therapy is simply an innate connection to music that we, as humans, possess. I’d like to believe that our primordial predecessors even experienced that inexplicably calm sensation when the sound of the river washing up against the rocks and the soft whistle of the wind intertwined into a harmony of sorts. The medical practice itself is one that we have recently began seriously expanding and cultivating, but the power within the art lies in our inherent bond with music.


It is this instinctive draw to music that has musicians such as Beth Robinson gravitating towards the field. In our last encounter with Beth, she explained to us her story as a music therapist, and the logistics of what she does as a private therapist. As she described her journey towards becoming a therapist, and her ongoing journey in helping others through music, I realized something about human motivation. During my first session at music therapy, I experienced an intangible lightness of sorts. Navigating adolescence (and I’m sure through the tribulations my future will hold), I often feel weighted by the rather self-centered expectations that I, as well as modern society, place upon myself. But in music therapy, the weight of expectations was lifted, and I felt the wonderfully unfamiliar feeling of lightness, a sensation that can only be felt when you reach out to others with no other motive than to simply understand and help. Once we have been exposed to this lightness, we cling to this feeling of voided expectations, and we continue to find ways to foster this lightness from thinking beyond oneself, and combat the weight of expectation. Talking with Beth, I realized that music therapists are individuals who have found this lightness through the innate connection to music that, in my opinion, most animals with any sense of hearing are able to experience. They are motivated by this lightness, and this drive translates itself into the continuous expansion and practice of music therapy, fostering the idea that has grown throughout centuries and leaving their footprint in this ever-evolving practice.


Like any practice, music therapy is not for everyone, and few may actually experience this lightness through pursuing music therapy. But if I learned anything from Beth’s talk, it’s that we must all ask ourselves a singular question: Where can I find this lightness of connecting and helping others? From someone who found it through music therapy, a practice that I did not even know existed until a month ago, then I advise the reader to actively go and find what in this world makes them get up in the morning, and what makes them go to bed feeling fulfilled. Chances are, you will find it through the most unexpected, and seemingly obscure act. 

Categories: Music Therapy

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