The Most Revd. and Rt Hon Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
What is striking and engaging in this excellent book is that it makes us reflect on the whole business of communication - what it is for us humans to be conversational creatures. It challenges some over-easy conclusions about who is and who and isn't capable of conversing - but that, of course, is exactly what the whole work of music therapy is about. But it also shows the difficulty and importance of genuine communication: the degree to which we don't know what we mean unless and until we find an answering rhythm in a listener; the degree to which we foreclose the processes of communication because we want to spare ourselves the letting-go and taking time involved. That our humanity is realised most fully in a literal shared attunement of some kind is a more suggestive thought than volumes of ethics or metaphysics. Pavlicevic gives us a real narrative philosophy in these stories, poignantly and vividly told and sensitively and self-critically thought through.
The Arts in Psychotherapy
This beautiful and moving book is a riveting collage of nine music therapy case histories, shared by a group of music therapists who were interviewed by Mercedes Pavlicevic. Pavlicevic intended these personalised interviews to be experienced as directly as possible, as oral texts in the first person. This group of sensitive therapists speaks openly, not only of their successes; they are equally candid in sharing their own frustrations and insecurities. As a result, these "stories" bring the reader much closer to the living dynamics of exchange that occurs between therapists and clients than would be possible in a more academic style of reporting. Each "story" is followed by Pavlicevic's reflections that conclude each chapter with a helpful kind of discussion and summary in response to these diverse histories. Through reading these wonderful stories, the richness of which can only be hinted at in the context of this review, we clearly see how music therapy reaches people at the deepest levels of their humanity.
Bulletin of the Australian Music Therapy Association
This book retells the stories of nine different music therapists and their work with one or two of their clients. All the music therapists use improvisational techniques in their work, and their clients come from a wide range of backgrounds and have varying abilities and disabilities… Each story is followed by Pavlicevic's reflections which examine the story in a more clinical manner where improvisational techniques are explained and the meaning of the music is explored. However, this is no textbook with quantifiable outcomes. Rather, there is an exploration of the complex meaning of the music and the insights gained from this… As a practising music therapist who rarely uses the technique of improvisation, I started reading this book with interest, but perhaps with an underlying feeling that improvisation in music therapy would be a technique that I may never personally never grasp. This book, however, has inspired me to use improvisation more often in my own work as I feel that I have gained a greater insight after reading this book. The book in itself is easy to read, but does not trivialise the issues which are discussed. It would be a valuable text for anyone who has a basic interest in music those therapy and professionals who are already working in the field and would like to know more about other therapists experiences.
The variety of clients, environments and music therapy interventions described provide a wealth of information to the reader. Each story is individual, giving a different perspective of music therapy. The honesty and clarity of the music therapists' stories is refreshing. It is enlightening to read about the therapists' fear and to be informed about what approaches are successful and those that are less successful... This book provides a friendly introduction to music therapy. The case studies describe a variety of clients with differing needs and a mixture of approaches for consideration. The honesty of the therapists is moving and their intimate stories are enlightening. This book is an excellent way to gain a greater understanding of what music therapists can offer.