Sketches of Mercédès' imagination (p53)
Music therapy and dementia care practice in the United Kingdom: A British Association for Music Therapy membership survey (p58-69)
The place of music therapy in the spectrum of musical interventions in dementia care needs to be better understood in light of the ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ of this provision. A semi-structured, online survey of British Association for Music Therapy members and affiliates was undertaken in summer 2017. It asked respondents to report on employment practice and settings, and experience in dementia-related music therapy. It asked about training received and given, and what barriers prevent wider availability of music therapy for people with dementia in the United Kingdom. Replies came from 188 people, 142 of whom were working with people with dementia. Most respondents reported working in the public or voluntary sector, but one in five was self-employed. Most (61%) were employed in residential care or hospital settings, for an average of 20?hours per week. The main factor that would increase music therapy provision in dementia care was seen as ‘greater awareness’ of music therapy amongst the general public and within the National Health Service. Nearly one-quarter (23%) thought that training and development could help increase provision. This was the largest survey undertaken to date of dementia practice by Music Therapists in the United Kingdom. It has implications for recruitment, professional development, promotion of the specialism and research.
Response to Justine Schneider's article 'Music therapy and dementia care practice in the United Kingdom: A British Association for Music Therapy membership survey' (p70-73)
The music matrix: A qualitative participatory action research project to develop documentation for care home music therapy services (p74-85)
This article presents a small Participatory Action Research project involving music therapists working in a care home company, creating a documentation tool (The Music Matrix) that is fit for purpose. The project emerged out of a commonly held dissatisfaction with existing documentation among the Music Therapists in the care home company’s national team. The Music Matrix tool uses graphic notation to record observations of client participation, systematised into 10 dimensions of activity. The tool was developed in a cycle of practice and reflection between members of the music therapy team and stakeholders in the wider organisation. This was systematised in a three-stage trial process of profiling, peer review and thematic synthesis of feedback. Findings suggest that the tool was viewed to be useful in a number of aspects. First, it enabled insights for Music Therapists, in seeing patterns and recognising unacknowledged habits in their own practice. It helped show complex experience in an immediate graphic way. This was useful for reporting to stakeholders and was flexible in applying to numerous formats of practice. However, this flexibility also created a level of uncertainty for some research respondents, as the tool’s wide applicability does not have the appearance of objectivity afforded by other methods. Stakeholders saw applications beyond music therapy, particularly for non-musical care work and activities. Insights emerged regarding how Music Therapists can usefully meet the many demands that care documentation serves.
The invisible handshake: A context for improvisation in music therapy (p86-95)
Improvisation is a fundamental aspect of music therapy practice but until recently was much neglected by researchers. This article outlines hitherto unpublished findings from doctorate research completed in 2001, at a time when few investigations were being undertaken. The findings stand the test of time and are detailed in the article as well as updated within the current literature context. The strength of the research is in consideration of underlying temporal, relational aspects of improvisation, which show how improvisations in music and in everyday conversation have both similarities and differences at deeper, structural levels. This research is of interest to current researchers, improvisers and Music Therapists.
Music therapy within an integrated project for families exposed to domestic violence: A qualitative study of professionals' perspectives (p96-104)
This article focuses on a collaborative project that took place from 2012 to 2015 between an NHS Music Therapy Service for children and young people, a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and the charity Housing for Women. Music therapy interventions for children and young people took place alongside therapeutic family interventions. The families involved had all experienced exposure to domestic abuse. A qualitative study of professionals’ perceptions of the project took place after the project had ended, using a methodology of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Interviews with non-music therapy professionals were transcribed and analysed, providing data about perceived benefits for children and families, the evolving perspectives of the professionals involved and the degree to which processes in music therapy were communicated and understood.
Tony Wigram Essay Prize
'In the therapist's head and heart': An investigation into the profound impact that motherhood has on the work of a music therapist (p105-110)
This essay, based on a qualitative research project undertaken by the author while training at Roehampton University, explores the profound impact motherhood can have on the work of a music therapist. Motivated by the close parallels between the roles of mother and therapist as described in psychodynamic theory, the study involved three interviews with music therapist-mothers, and used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to analyse the data. Three superordinate themes emerged: Conflict and Growth; Drawing from Motherhood ‘Toolkit’; and Therapist Boundaries. Findings highlighted the multifaceted nature of the participants’ experiences, revealing both the positive and negative impact being a mother has on the work of a music therapist and the complex ways in which these roles intertwined with each other. During the research process, a broader picture emerged, placing the participants’ experiences within the context of Western culture’s idealised expectations of motherhood, which appeared to exert a powerful influence. It also drew attention to the limitations inherent in the ‘maternal metaphor’ which parallels the roles of mother and therapist, questioning its gender-specificity and the impact this has on music therapist-mothers. This small study provides a starting point for discussion regarding the challenges music therapist-mothers – as well as music therapists who are not mothers – face in a profession in which women make up the majority of the workforce.
Stella Compton Dickinson and Laurien Hakvoort, The Clinician's Guide to Forensic Music Therapy (p111)
Daniel Thomas and Vicky Abad (Eds), The Economics of Therapy: Caring for Clients, Colleagues, Commissioners and Cash-Flow in the Creative Arts Therapies (p113)
John Strange, Helen Odell-Miller and Eleanor Richards, Collaboration and Assistance in Music Therapy Practice: Roles, Relationships, Challenges (p115)
Michael H. Thaut and Volker Hoemberg (Eds) Handbook of Neurologic Music Therapy (p118)