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Where Educaton and Therapy Overlap

Music as basic human activity


The question whether the Consonate Method belongs to music education, music therapy or special music education is difficult to answer. First of all I could reply that apart from theoretical debates we do music for our on sake. The method was established to bridge the gap between skills and desires. Naturally, it can be used with educational, therapeutic purpose as well as it can be seen from the brief summary about special music education.


Music is an inseparable part of a human being

Music is originally a social activity, a natural consequence of the everyday life. In ancient times music-making was not a question of aesthetics; as part of the community all members of the society could and should have participated regardless of their musical ability. The musical performance was not judged by the audience; what is more, the performers were their own audience at the same time. Ansdell (2004) shed light on the fact that in the eighteen century music started to be taken away from everyday life and cultivated in concert halls. Sárosi (1986) pointed out that before the invention of recording music, the only way of listening to it was live performance. The human experience of music changed radically due to technical development: it has somehow made it unusual to hear someone start singing. Nowadays the situation is even worse than in 1986, some young people almost always keep their earphones in their ears, and listen to their own music during activities which used to be occasions to sing. Although many books and studies underline the positive effects of musicing on the whole personality, musical activities like singing, playing musical instruments or improvising are not so evident and natural in modern society.

Kodály, who “advocated teaching a love for music supported by knowledge about music” (Kite, 1990) was convinced that general music education from early childhood is a way to restore our broken relationship with music. This is the aim of the Consonante Method as well but the challanges we faced were physical and intellectual limitations.


Common Goals of Music Therapy and Special Education

Music therapy and music education naturally overlap in the field of special musical education (Mitchell, 2007; Boxill, 1995). Stephenson (2007) highlights the work of Daveson &Edwars (1998) that „many of the general goals of music therapists are broadly congruent with the goals of special education”. John Pelliteri (2000) shed light on the fact that similarly to the special education „music therapy crosses multiple modalities and thus can simultaneously address several needs”. The comprehensive educational, rehabilitative, and developmental goals of music therapy respond to a variety of needs on psychological, physical, cognitive socio-emotional and other transdisciplinary areas. (Varvasovszkyné-Velsz, 1998; Daveson & Edwards 1998; Stephenson 2007; Ockelford & Markou, 2012). Different professions put emphasis on the acquisition of different musical skills or the development of a wide range of non-musical abilities. In order to benefit the most from using music both teachers and therapists must be conscious of the widespread therapeutic effects of music, in perceptual and sensory skills, fine and gross movement, verbal and nonverbal communication, socialization, attention, emotions, cognitive and learning abilities (McFerran & Rickson 2007, Rickson, 2014).

As Wigram (1998) mentions interaction is one of the primary functions of music therapy, especially for mentally challenged people. In addition to involve them into a meaningful preverbal or nonverbal communication music is widely used for expressing their feelings and emotions, decreasing challenging behavior as aggression, auto-aggression, change negative feelings, increasing self-esteem, preventing or alleviating secondary handicaps (Daveson & Edwards 1998, Oldfield, 1999, Pellitteri 2000, Stokes & Sianson, 1992, Warner, 2007). Music creates a predictable structure for the participants promoting their emotional security. (Kern & Humpal, 2012.) The group-therapy helps them to experience being an effective member of the community: being accepted, respected, by sharing feelings, emotions trough music (Watson, 2007). Furthermore, common shared music helps to decrease their isolation, increases their social skills by trying and practicing different roles in the community as soloist, listener, leader, and supporter (Davies & Richard, 2002, Watson 2007). Vibroacustic or other complex sensory stimulations are also common used goals of special education and music therapy, especially for clients living with severe disabilities (Hooper & Lindsay 2004, Berger, 2002). Speech-therapy and music therapy also have a lot of common fields: breath and voice control, as well helping verbal communication with melodic support or facilitate speech with rhythm exercises (Baker, 2000. Cohen, 1994.). Different authors accentuate that music therapy is one of the most effective and comprehensive tool for children with autism spectrum disorders. (Kim et als, 2009. Wigram & Elefant, 2006, Watson, 2007.)

The Community Music Therapy Approach accentuates the importance of musical performance in social inclusion. Public performances of different minority groups increase the social status of the performers, facilitate social actions, promote social recognition and empowerment (Brynjulf 2012, Jampell 2011, Ruud 2008).



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Suggested citation

Tiszai, L. 2015, March 07. Consonante / Where Educaton and Therapy Overlap