For many of you reading this editorial, music therapy is familiar, established and economically viable (more or less). In this corner of Africa, we are at the beginning. And this week saw the opening of the first music therapy unit in the region, at the University of Pretoria. The event was organised by the music therapy students, who asked for 'a budget' and decorated the music therapy space with balloons, ribbons, flowers and beautiful African cloths. The food was delicious, the champagne suitably bubbly and the background (background???) jazz kept us on our toes. The students did a cabaret to a "Silly Song" and since I take responsibility for the lyrics, I print bits of it here as a commentary about our craft.
In the Beginning was the sound,
And the sound got around
The walls of the University (This new-fangled thing called music therapy)
Have you heard? They do the strangest things
Improvise, critique, reflect and sing
They're into inter-subjectivity ....Dynamic formulations of activity.....
We'll adjust and tune your transference
Check your rhythmic relevance
All this while you think you're playing Debussy
(This new-fangled thing called music therapy)
During the training we're learning to hear
Whether soft or loud turns you on (my dear)
Makes you swoon, makes you swing, makes you shed a tear
Or brings the past a little too near......
If you're serious about Bach or Mozart
We've a remedy for too much high art
If you're worried that the world might blow up
Well, cheer-up, you're paranoid and screwed up
But don't you wo-rry!(CHORUS)
And today while you're circulating, munching and sipping
Don't for a minute imagine we're deaf
'Cos we're listening and watching and checking you're clarity
Noting your pulse and pondering you're sanity
But don't you wo-rry ... We do music therapy !
Since many of you are experienced music therapists (and researchers) I'll leave you to make your own interpretations as to the layers of meaning..... but let's remember what lies behind silliness and celebration: a beginning has arrived and will hopefully be flexible enough to allow music therapy to develop as it will, here in Southern Africa.
Pavlicevic. Mércèdes (2003) In the Beginning. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved May 14, 2013, from http://testvoices.uib.no/?q=fortnightly-columns/2003-beginning