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Session Details

Ethical Considerations: Respect for Ethnicity in Selecting Music/Techniques in Therapy Sessions
(Event: 2017 AMTA Conference - A Mindful Approach to Music Therapy)

Nov 15, 2017 07:15 pm - Nov 15, 2017 10:15 pm
Session Type: Special Training
Track: .


Respecting diverse cultures and developing sensitivity to offensive content is important for every music therapist. Explore appropriation and misrepresentation of others' culture in music frequently used in music therapy sessions. Appropriations of healing traditions within therapeutic formats will also be examined in videos with people from the authentic culture who explain their perspective.

Learner Objectives:

1. Select music and musical activities from diverse cultures that respect the meaning of that music or activity within its authentic culture and do not misrepresent or appropriate the associated culture disrespectfully. (II. A. 5 To achieve therapeutic goals: ac) utilize a varied music repertoire (e.g., blues, classical, folk, jazz, pop) from a variety of cultures and subcultures.)

2. Demonstrate cultural competence when interacting with clientele from diverse cultures by representing their authentic culture and not a misrepresentation of it that is based on Western movies, videos, or books. (IV. B. 4. Interact with the client in an authentic, ethical, and culturally competent manner that respects privacy, dignity, and human rights.)

3. Intentionally make choices for songs and activities chosen for therapeutic uses in music therapy sessions to reflect and respect cultural awareness of meanings of songs and activities. (I. D. 9. Consider client’s age, culture, language, music background, and preferences when designing music therapy experiences.)

4. Identify music therapy activities and repertoire which may potentially be considered disrespectful by clients from specific cultures. (II. B. 2. Recognize the potential harm of music experiences and use them with care. )


7:15 – 8:15 p.m. This course will explore ethical considerations related to the use of music and techniques in music therapy sessions when choosing diverse styles of music or when using Western music which has included appropriations from other cultures. The use of music therapy techniques which are appropriated from other cultures will also be examined. Examples of Native American Appropriations and Appropriations which are now termed Orientalism will be examined. Cultures which are misrepresented in Orientalism include different cultures within India, different cultures within the Middle East, and different cultures in Asia. Video examples of offensive holiday and theme programming, movie clips with music and dance, music videos with props and costumes, and song lyrics which misrepresent the cultures being portrayed will be included and discussed.

8:15 – 9:00 Music-based techniques which are appropriated from other cultures in which those techniques are used for healing will be examined from the perspective of people within the original cultures who describe the errors and lack of understanding and respect that are involved in the appropriation of these techniques by people whom they have chosen to label as “plastic shamans”.

9 – 9:15 break

9:15 – 9:45 with personal applications. Examples of Appropriations include but are not limited to music videos, movies, and healing techniques from Native American, Eastern, and African cultures. A contextual understanding and comparisons of perspectives from Western cultures with perspectives from tribal/communal cultures will be described. A description of the offense of using instruments, images, dance, and costumes outside of authentic cultural contexts will be presented.

9:45 – 10:05 with personal applications. Examination of cultures in which music is not allowed to be used in specific ways or has gender-specific or position-within-culture specific prohibitions on the use of music will be examined along with cultures in which musical instruments, singing, and/or dancing may have restrictions on use. Considerations for groups in conflict/war are included. Active discussion is involved for participants.

10:05 – 10:15 – Evaluation of CMTE



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