I experienced a wonder in the music of music therapy; it could be so different from the talking therapy where words state your feelings point-blank. Music cannot be interpreted like that. In the improve (improvisation) with Andrea I was able to stretch my wings or try out my wings a little bit, sometimes flailing and sometimes soaring in the music. Music made things solid or real or “expressed.” Music defined what I felt and thought, made my feelings real, or made me real…it connected me to the past and at the same time cemented me down in the present.
--From When Words Are Not Enough, Andrea Frisch, in Inside Music Therapy: Client Experiences, Ed. Julie Hibben, Barcelona Press, c 1999
During a session, the client describes the pressing issues, feelings, or concerns and when ready, we can play instruments, sing, or listen to music together. Sometimes the music-making comes first. We discuss what happened during the playing and what it was like. The music-making can express, clarify, and identify what the issues are and facilitate their resolution. The proportion of time between participating in music and spent talking is different for each client and the balance can change during the course of therapy; there can be sessions that are spent primarily making, or listening to, music, and sessions that are mostly comprised of talking, and every combination in between.