Saturday, February 6, 2010


The different populations educators and therapists work with have a lot to do with the contrasts between the two. Educators usually have a self selected group that includes people with at least good motivation, and probably some experience as well. It's often the case that educators further winnow that group down (sometimes fairly ruthlessly) to people they choose to work with. And at higher levels, of course, access is by audition only. This creates a closed group that can be taken further and faster than an open admission group.

A possible downside to the closed group is that in exchange for the privilege of admission, members can be subjected to what in other contexts would be viewed as verbal abuse. Just as in an abusive marriage, the person receiving the abuse can elect to stay in the relationship because the pluses outweigh the minuses. The music world abounds in anecdotes of tyrannical teachers and conductors who create tremendously effective ensembles, and whose members share war stories of the abuse and how it was all worth it for the magnificent performances.

A music therapist takes all comers and tries to nurture whatever abilities the client has, helping them experience the joys and benefits of making music. This doesn't mean there's no structure to the process and anything goes, it's just that the well being of the client trumps any particular musical goal. 

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