Music at the Edge: The Music Therapy Experiences of a Musician with AIDS

Music at the Edge: The Music Therapy Experiences of a Musician with AIDS

Music at the Edge: The Music Therapy Experiences of a Musician with AIDS

Music at the Edge: The Music Therapy Experiences of a Musician with AIDS

Synopsis

Through the words of the therapist and the music of the patient this package allows the reader to experience a complete music therapy journey. Francis, a trained musician who was facing death from AIDS, challenged Colin Lee, the music therapist, to help him clarify his feelings about living, and dying. In doing so he helped the therapist to clarify some of his feelings about this particularly demanding form of therapeutic work and to question the framework of the therapeutic relationship in palliative care. This is a complete music therapy case study. The CD (76 minutes) of extracts from improvisations made during sessions, which accompanies the text, is an integral part of a unique insight into the therapeutic process. This package offers anyone who is working with, or facing, illness and death an opportunity to understand how the transcendent power of music can enable expression of painful feelings more accurately than words.

Excerpt

Because this book's central concern is the power of immediacy in creating music for therapy it is, and will always be, utterly contemporary. Unique in all its aspects, it is an enthralling biography in two voices: the one, Francis, a gifted pianist of middle age with aids, determined to realize his life in musical expression to the fullest possible extent; the other, Colin Lee, a sensitive music therapist, whose courageous initiative in accommodating his client's pressing needs sets the circumstances for an extraordinary disclosure of music creation's therapeutic potency. the book is also a testament expressed through dual media: music and words. the consistent recording of the client and therapist's sessions enables the availability of their improvised music on compact disc, and words in print. Excerpts of the music that was the life-flow of their relationship can be relived in the context of their transcribed discussions.

In a unique synthesis of original music and searching commentary, Francis lives and expresses his processes of discovery. We can follow his deepening release into musical freedom, his amazement and joy in creative achievement, his piloting journey of reconciliation and transformation toward the inevitability of death. Because he ardently lives his process, realizes it in and through music improvisation, and articulates it with astounding clarity, we are led into recognizing, at first hand, the therapeutic essence of creative involvement in making music. There is nothing of intellectual conceit in his statements, nothing of extraneous theory, just the clear perceptive exegesis of experience-in which everything is intrinsic to music. the therapist, his constant companion on an inspiring, disquieting journey into the unknown, empirically tends, reflects and augments each step in the process. On the recordings his playing is in creative resonance with his client's; his voice in the text offers a counterpoint that serves to place their work in the larger context of music therapy practice.

Everything about this book is of interest to music therapists: the many aspects of music it discusses-improvisation and composition, keys and scales, tonality and atonality, structure and expression, creative freedom and constraints, chaos and organization, silences, improvisational devices-

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