Dr Gary Ansdell

'Music Therapy as Discourse & Discipline: A Study of 'Music Therapist's Dilemma'

How music therapy is talked about has clear implications for how practice, training and research are developed. The research was a qualitative study of how music therapists talked about music therapy at three levels of discourse: spontaneously when describing their clinical work, and also how they discussed it in professional groups and wrote about it in texts. The conclusion was that music therapy was constructed around 'music therapist's dilemma', that talking about music therapy is problematic because talking about musical process is. Ten years later the study and its implications can be seen as part of a 'deconstruction' that has allowed a more mature view of how music therapy as practice, discipline and profession evolves in concert with current theory, political strategy and cultural shifts. This now relates to the Community Music Therapy movement which relocates music therapy to a broader understanding of how music helps. Gary is currently Director of Education at the Nordoff-Robbins Centre.