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Music and the Social Model

An Occupational Therapist's Approach to Music with People Labelled as Having Learning Disabilities
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Music has always been an essential part of what it is to be human and yet not everyone has access to the music-based opportunities others take for granted. Motivated by the belief that individuals are disabled by society rather than any impairment they might have, Jane Williams sets out to show how someone with learning difficulties can engage with music in as many diverse and fulfilling ways as the rest of their community and generation.

This practical guide will equip you with everything you need to know to help empower people with learning difficulties to experience and enjoy music, meaningfully. It sets out activity ideas in the context of existing Occupational Therapy models and offers a host of tips, resources and ready-to-use themed lesson plans to inspire and enrich your practice. There are also many practical examples and real-life success stories that show how to put the theory into practice, including downloadable tracks composed and performed by The LA Buskers, a band Jane works with.

Accessible, practical and inspirational, the unique approaches described in this book will be of immeasurable interest to occupational therapists, social care workers responsible for planning and delivering activity programmes as well as community musicians.
  • Published: Apr 28 2013
  • Pages: 216
  • 249 x 184mm
  • ISBN: 9781849053068
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Press Reviews


    This is an inspiring and practical guide that we're sure would be of real interest to Occupational Therapists, anyone working in day centres, social care settings and community music projects. It also challenges us all to think about the opportunities that people should be able to enjoy around music, whether it's performance or as a member of the audience.
  • International Journal of Developmental Disabilities

    ... this is a book worthy of a place in an OT department where the emphasis is always on evidence based practice, underpinned by the core principles of our profession. It offers practical examples of how music can be experience by people who are diagnosed with a learning disability.
  • British Journal of Occupational Therapy

    What is very evident is the power of music, as well as the author's passion for it, and how this can be harnessed as a positive force for change, and indeed many compelling illustrations are given of this. This section of the text, and the example group plans, are a joy to read and will hopefully encourage others to use music as part of their occupational therapy tool kit.
  • Professor Colin Barnes, Centre for Disability Studies, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds

    Music is said to be a universal language. But, beyond the confines of "music therapy," disabled people, and particularly those labelled "with learning difficulties," encounter a whole range of barriers when accessing mainstream musical activities. Music and the Social Model provides an innovative and much needed analysis of these issues and how they might be overcome. It is essential reading for everyone working in the disability and related fields and comes highly recommended.
  • Lindsey Stewart, an aspiring singer

    Jane has written this book with OTs in mind however the breadth of her approach to the whole subject can be appreciated by a very wide audience. The way she explores, explains and brings to life in accessible language so many aspects of music means that she has created an invaluable and inspirational resource. For those of us who love music and wish to learn more about its complexities, whatever our perspective, this book will open many doors.
  • Cathy McCormack, deaf occupational therapist, Fulbright Scholar in deaf studies and Gallaudet University graduate

    Jane's use of the Social Model of Disability as a means of realising a disabled person's inclusion/participation in music really resonated with me. By the end of this book I wanted to arrange a couple of sessions with Jane myself so convincing was she that music and the environments in which it exists could be adapted in a way that would enable my access to it. As Jane says "everyone who dreams has music"; this book has given me a roadmap to begin my own journey towards realising my own musical dream.
  • Evie Faulkner, student of Occupational Therapy

    The way this book is laid out is easy for the reader to understand and follow, allowing the educational and theoretical elements to blend in with the reality of using OT in practice, specifically in music. Throughout the book Jane keeps the language theoretical and factual while still understandable, fun and without waffle. The book also helps us, as students, to understand what is actually important to the individual and gives us stepping stones to start to understand that everything is individual; teaching us to not simply follow a model. I think that this is a captivating and spellbinding book, which contains necessary information and facts along with the added creativity and spark needed to inspire as well as teach.