Why is music so important to most of us? How does music help us both in our everyday lives, and in the more specialist context of music therapy? This book suggests a new way of approaching these topical questions, drawing from Ansdell's long experience as a music therapist, and from the latest thinking on music in everyday life. Vibrant and moving examples from music therapy situations are twinned with the stories of 'ordinary' people who describe how music helps them within their everyday lives. Together this complementary material leads Ansdell to present a new interdisciplinary framework showing how musical experiences can help all of us build and negotiate identities, make intimate non-verbal relationships, belong together in community, and find moments of transcendence and meaning. How Music Helps is not just a book about music therapy. It has the more ambitious aim to promote (from a music therapist's perspective) a better understanding of 'music and change' in our personal and social life. Ansdell's theoretical synthesis links the tradition of Nordoff-Robbins music therapy and its recent developments in Community Music Therapy to contemporary music sociology and music studies. This book will be relevant to practitioners, academics, and researchers looking for a broad-based theoretical perspective to guide further study and policy in music, well-being, and health.
Dr Gary Ansdell is an experienced music therapist, trainer and researcher - currently Director of Education at the music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins. He has published widely in the fields of music, music therapy, and music and health/wellbeing, and is co-editor, with the music sociologist Tia DeNora, of the Ashgate Series Music and Change: Ecological Perspectives.