Just A Song Sunday: Experience in Relating to Others - Sears

There are only three pages left in this chapter, folks, and then I will have to find something new to focus on during these Sunday mornings. Thank you for going through this process of thinking through what was written so long ago with me. While some of the language (and thoughts) are a bit simplistic for me, I do consider this to be a foundation of all that I think about music therapy, so revisiting it occasionally is important.

Last week I went through the three paragraphs that start off the final piece of Sears' outline - the description of the section titled, "experience in relating to others." Today, I will start reading through and discussing the sub-levels contained under that initial heading. 

One of the things that I noted last week was the historical context of this book. In the late 1960's, the deinstitutionalization movement was just starting. Persons with exceptionalities were just starting to be included in the idea of civil and personal rights, so the therapists of this time were working with communities and individuals who were just getting to know each other. The goal of deinstitutionalization was integration, but neither side really knew how to reach that goal. Music therapists were able to be part of that process. History of a particular topic is helpful when you are trying to understand what is happening in a particular piece of writing - primary sources and all.

Anyway, into the world of Sears...

Music provides means by which self-expression is socially acceptable

Sears posits here that music, just by being music, offers opportunities for expressing emotion, being close to others, gaining social recognition by a peer group, and exploration of self identity as well as identity within the group. For me, I find that this sub-level makes me think about the kids on Glee who would burst into song in the middle of the high school hallways and then get slushied for their singing efforts. 

While music is a place where you can express yourself, it is still very much contained within specific places and situations. The number of strange looks I get when I am singing in the hallways of my workplace are staggering! My students seem to feel that music should remain in the music therapy room and try to rein me in, but it doesn't work. I digress. 

Being a part of music making allows me to express my inner emotions where I would not express those emotions in other places. I can sing sappy love songs to assist me in getting over a relationship, and no one thinks it is strange that I am using my face to indicate my emotions. I can spend time writing new songs that express my emotions, and it is considered appropriate by others to compose songs. (Just don't start singing those songs loudly in the aisles of the supermarket - that's still not considered socially acceptable these days, believe me!)

Music provides opportunity for individual choice of response in groups

"Optimum performance of each individual in a musical group is desirable. However, the individual may wish to choose his own level of response" (p. 42). Sears goes on to say, "Freedom to choose is sometimes more important than the choice" (p. 42). Ah, the foundation for my attitude when it comes to working with adolescents - no one is forced to engage in therapeutic music experiences in my clinic. I feel that choice is very important. Nice to know that Sears thought so as well.

I am going to stop here for the week. The problem with Sears is that I tend to get really deep into thinking and that makes for lots of thoughts in my head that need to get out. After a while, I get too involved in what I am thinking about, and I just have to stop and consider. I've reached that point now.

Happy Sunday, dear reader.

Sears, W. W. (1968). Processes in music therapy. In E. T. Gaston (Ed.) Music in therapy (30-44). New York: MacMillan. 


Popular posts from this blog

TME Tuesday: sing about summer - Session Ideas to Celebrate Summer

May the Fourth

The Day Off