Music Therapy Practice

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    IAMT AdminIAMT Admin

    What is one thing that you learned that you will use in your music therapy practice?

    Cara PadenCara Paden

    What’s most striking to me was the history of blackface caricatures. The entire time I was considering how much some of those minstrel songs are still so prevalent in American culture (cough Jingle Bells). The fact that they are so prevalent just continues to perpetuate this terrible caricature of Black people. I think as music therapists, it is our duty to be mindful of where our songs come from so that we do not continue to perpetuate white supremacy and racism. I understand that I really need to delve into my repertoire of music and eliminate certain songs. I know some people have compiled lists of minstrel songs and other songs with racist undertones. It also makes me think about our education as music therapists. What would it look like if we not only covered blackface and minstrelsy in American music history but incorporated other genres/styles/cultures of music playing? Excited to hear what other people were thinking!

    Lizzy KundeLizzy Kunde

    I completely agree. Something I found really fascinating was the pre-test. I’ve brought this training to my workplace and am encouraging all my coworkers to complete it and I’ve gotten a lot of push back about the pre-test. Some of my coworkers feel that it’s set up like a trap and yet they’re all common biases and stereotypes. I feel like the purpose is to really have you self-evaluate and if you’re knit picking about whether Black people are suspicious because of their clothes or are they just suspicious, there needs to be a lot of self-reflection and growth done on that individual’s part. Does anybody have any thoughts on how to begin those conversations?

    Deborah SoszkoDeborah Soszko

    Something I learned that I will use in my music therapy practice is to be more bold in following up with WHY? For example, if a particular style of music is discouraged, “Why?”.I typically just jump right into saying “I will never sing inappropriate words/innuendos, teachers, don’t worry!” But it would be helpful to open the discussion about the nature of the objection and not assume. Is it a style that is particularly non-white and therefore seems inappropriate or assumed to have bad language? Asking for clarification can answer questions for both myself and the client’s I serve, who may not have thought to ask, or may not have the words. A frequent dialogue while working in schools is “what is this student’s behavior plan?”. I have experienced situations where the behavior plan or consequence chart seemed to be more harsh to children of color, or more lenient to CERTAIN children of color. At the time I recall trusting the judgement of staff almost implicitly but I am more emboldened to ask the simple question of WHY? should I ever witness this agin. “why were these parameters/consequences deemed appropriate?” At the very least, it will afford me the ability to review information I may not have access to, reveal biases or assumptions, and/or open a discussion with staff that can provide insight into how we approach meeting the goals of our clients.

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