5 months into the course, and I realise I still have difficulty explaining to others when they ask me why I want to do this. Why it interests, fascinates, intrigues and inspires me. All I know is that it does, but after that, words seem to fail me.
Then I came across this paragraph in a recently-read book:
“To improvise or compose for handicapped children, to arrange music and play for them, becomes a totally new world of musical experience. The therapist may be musically knowledgable, he may have performed often, or have composed much music, yet now music becomes revitalized for him, completely changed in purpose and realization. All the compositional styles evolved during the last seven centuries, all the folk music, the idioms, the elements of music, the very notes themselves – even the smallest expressive and structural components – become significant in countless, undreamed-of ways. The world of music opens anew, now disclosing an inner musical life of therapeutic potential. The therapist feels reborn in his new musical-therapeutic experienced and realizes that the art of music as therapy will never cease to challenge him, never cease to require all his musical resources. As a mediator of therapeutic music he assumed new, uplifting responsibilities. Out of his love for music he approached handicapped children, feels them musically. Through his practically ability as a musician he works with them clinically. With his musical perceptiveness and musical intelligence he understands their responses artistically and humanly recognizes what they express.”
– Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins, Therapy in Music for Handicapped Children
Of course, we are living in a very different world. Terminology like “handicapped” and “retarded” have ceased to be considered professional, being replaced with terms like “special needs”, “disabilities”, “spectrums”, etc. But the soul and spirit of what they were trying to do has not changed, and their conclusion totally spoke to me in articulating why the power of music continues to captivate us all.
Words from the pioneers themselves – who could say it better?