Why Can’t They All Be Like This?

A couple of weeks ago I ran a session which went really well. Looking back on the session plan – which is happily written in purple felt-tip – I could see why:

  • I thought very carefully about each song
  • I experimented with soundscapes, and vocal sounds, not just on songs and song-words
  • Many of the songs used very simple guitar chords so I could concentrate more on interacting with the participants
  • We varied dynamics, speeds – almost resulting in seasickness during What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor?
  • I introduced simple descants over well-known songs
  • Participants were encouraged to think of their own words for verses

All of these things, as well as other elements relating directly to the singing and the use of percussion instruments, I feel helped the participants feel more confident about their musicality and the range of sounds they can produce. So, why can’t they all be like this? As I gather new repertoire, inevitably, some of it might be a little shaky – it may take me some time to develop the activities around a song. The key is to keep things relatively simple and to rely on the range of emotions we can employ and convey with our voices.The Sea and Sailing session-plan

3 thoughts on “Why Can’t They All Be Like This?

  1. Rachel Post author

    Thank you, Ralph, for your comment. I hope that the sessions I run do have therapeutic aspects to them. Of course, I’m not a qualified music therapist, so I do not claim it is Music Therapy.
    I would love to understand more what the new and developing field of Community Music Therapy looks like. At a conference in Folkestone in September 08, Gary Ansdell described music therapy and community music as being on a continuum…

  2. Ralph

    I don’t know whether you’ve read Gary’s paper ‘Community Music Therapy and the Winds of Change’ (http://www.voices.no/mainissues/Voices2(2)ansdell.html) but he talks in detail about music therapy and community music, both on their own merits, and then as precedents of community music therapy (He does however retract the ‘paradigm shift’ statement in his book ‘Community Music Therapy’). Interesting stuff.

    I know you don’t claim your work is music therapy, but it’s certainly musical, and I’m sure it’s therapeutic. ‘Sounds like music therapy’ is a quasi-slogan thrown around on our training days to describe work we’ve seen that can’t be called music therapy, but appears to share much in common with it.

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