Last week I was challenged by Julie over at Serenade Designs to consider my favorite quote and write about what it means to me. I didn’t even have to think for more than a second before I pushed back my office chair, rolled across the floor to my bookcase and grabbed the small hand drum that contains my favorite quote. This small hand drum has been in my grasp since the 1995 World Congress of Music Therapy held in Washington D.C. On the hand drum is printed a quote from Dr. John Diamond the founder of the Institute for Music and Health which reads:
One day, well into the future,
Music will at last become
the Great Therapy.
And the drums of this present age
will then be acknowledged
as the first instruments
that helped Music
to ultimately fulfill
It’s long-anticipated promise.
Now, I’m not sure about you, but I see the words “music” and ” the Great Therapy” and I get pretty excited. What’s more exciting is that since 1995 we have gained a much broader awareness and in depth understanding of the applications of music as therapy across the entire spectrum of life. Originally, the author states, “one day, well into the future.” Well, 20 years the future is already upon us and we, as individual music therapists and collectively as a profession, are marching toward the light of day when this future is a reality. Each of us marches to a beat that provides us passion toward this ultimate goal of helping the world better understand the power of music and it’s role in healing and wellness. We hold a large part of the responsibility of bringing that beat back to the forefront of everyone’s awareness.
On his blog on music, John Diamond, M.D. has some interesting things to say about his approaches that rely on the use of music and arts for wellness, healing, and life enhancement. The goal of the enhancing well-being or holistic health in individuals and communities is one that music therapists may find beneficial to review within their own theoretical and philosophical approaches to music therapy. I personally find this holistic approach very useful in my own resource oriented music therapy practice especially how I integrate all of the creative arts when working with a population that is primarily “well”. See, at Creative Childbirth Concepts® pregnancy and birth are not viewed as illnesses to be treated, but rather are as a very normal and natural part of development for many people around the world. In fact, childbirth is one of the most universal experiences across humanity. For even if perhaps we never bear children ourselves, we were all at one time born. So, I’m thrilled when I find resources that challenge my understanding of music as therapy or music as a tool to unlock creativity and support multiple dimensions of wellness like psychosocial, spiritual, physical and emotional. When I was reviewing the information available on Dr. John Diamond for this blog post, I stumbled across one of his books that I can’t wait to explore (pictured here). I’m constantly teaching about the role of voice and song during pregnancy and the benefits lullaby at the time of birth. I was just asking the question to a peer supervisor recently about the clinical role of “love” and “motherly nurturing” in applications of lullabies. I do hope the text Music and Song, Mother and Love will expand my understanding of music and song in the context of mothering and love so that I can apply new understandings into music therapy for childbirth. I’ll have to post a review once I finish.
While the specific approaches at the Institute for Music and Health may not match everyone’s specific “definition” of music therapy, it is very important in the context of our discussions as music therapists that we are aware of how the holistic healing professions are using music. This way, we can continue to aspire towards the day in the (not so distant) future, when music therapists will be the ones who help show the world at long last that music IS the great therapy. These words remain a constant inspiration for me to learn, to integrate what others have learned, and to always be willing to redefine how music can be used therapeutically to support universal experiences like childbirth. So now you know how this quote inspires me as a music therapist. How does this quote inspire YOU? How can you help music fulfill it’s long anticipated promise to become the “Great Therapy”?