Music-centered dimensions of Nordoff-Robbins music therapy

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The present article has a dual focus: it illustrates aspects of music-centered thinking in music therapy with examples from Nordoff-Robbins music therapy while at the same time providing insight into Nordoff-Robbins practice by explaining the music-centered rationales that support it. A brief introduction to the origins and defining characteristics of music-centered thinking is offered that utilizes David Elliott's notion of musicing and John Dewey's aesthetic theory and its differentiation of means from media. Some of the more central practices and precepts of music-centered thinking are elaborated upon including the convergence of musical and personal processes, the intrinsic value of musical experience, and the use of music as an autonomous clinical force. Central notions of Nordoff-Robbins music therapy such as the music child, the concept of quickening, the idea of establishing a musical world for a client, and the relationship between music and personal identity are reviewed. The article concludes with a brief exploration into the implications of Nordoff-Robbins practice and music-centered thinking for the future of music therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-29
Number of pages12
JournalMusic Therapy Perspectives
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Music
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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