The Arts in Psychotherapy
Music for Life is an entertaining and easy-reading book. It is a very good source to gain a better understanding of the Creative Music Therapy approach. A CD of music improvisations from the case studies presented in the book is available to purchase along with the book, and probably adds a great deal to the verbal descriptions. This is a practical approach to music therapy based on a "mostly musical" model rather than one underpinned by an extra-musical treatment theory. It is clear that being a very skilled musician is important for the therapist who wishes to practice in this way.
Those art therapists who are particularly interested in the place of art in our therapy will find much to reflect on. Although Ansdell clearly states that he is not trying to present a comprehensive theory of music therapy, his reflections on creating, expressing, reflecting, recalling, and evaluating offer provocative questions for the creative arts therapist. Ansdell takes on these questions with clarity, breadth, and respect for the inarticulate nature of music itself. Ansdell has done a fine job of articulating the many ways that music engages the clients' experience of themselves, and the ways music serves to transform and transcend the isolation of the individual, connnecting them to themselves, their therapists, and music itself. What unfolds throughout Music for Life is a gradual understanding and comprehension of the quality of music and how the phenomenon of music is the therapy. This book and CD offer much to art therapists interested in the place of art in our therapeutic approaches. The music speaks, and Ansdell's questions and thoughtful commentary offer us as arts therapists the opportunity to once again appreciate the creative process which underlines our work, and to know that it is enough to "just" make art with clients.
British Journal of Music Education
This book is a welcome addition to the recent series of music therapy publications by British authors... This is a phenomenological and intrinsic interpretation of music therapy with music not standing in as a substitute for something else as in a more verbally-orientated psychodynamic approach... There is copious and moving evidence here of music therapists helping adults to discover and sing their own deep songs.
British Journal of Music Therapy
Rich mixture of philosophical discussion and descriptive case studies... This book is a significant addition to the literature about Music Therapy... interesting and compelling to read, and challenges long established concepts of Music Therapy... There is much original thinking in this book... The case studies are vivid and include work with many different people... I recommend music therapists to read this thought-provoking book which will stimulate much debate about the fundamental question What is Music Therapy?
Inscape (The Journal of the British Association of Art Therapists)
Ansdell presents an easily read, but thought provoking book, which stimulates me to further question my practice as a music therapist... For art therapists this work will give an insight into one contemporary view of a developing approach of working with adult clients, giving a clear idea of how music therapists work with their clients in improvisation.
This book is an important contribution to the growing literature on music therapy... applicable to all areas of music therapy and should be of interest to allied professionals and those interested in the healing arts... All aspects of the book are explored with clarity, Ansdell's arguments being clear and logical, emanating directly from a combination of clinical practice and informed philosophical rumination. It is the interweaving of case studies, however, that lifts this book above the other more recent theoretical books on music therapy. Each example of clinical work highlights or initiates differing aspects of the work. The audio examples allow the reader to hear first-hand the music itself... Music for Life presents a creative musical emphasis to music therapy... it must take a leading place in contemporary music therapy literature. It can be understood by all, though more importantly in conjunction with the audio example, it has the capacity to inspire.
Nordisk Tidsskrift for Musikkterapi
This is an important book.Ansdell's writing is good, and the accompanying CD includes some very nice examples of music therapy practice.The book should be read by music therapists and music therapy students, and I will recommend it to my own students.