What About Black Music? Exploring A Gap In Music Therapy Training

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Wiley Livingston Smith (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Melody Schwantes Reid, Ph.D., MT-BC

Abstract: This project began as a phenomenological interview proposal exploring how music therapists develop knowledge, authenticity, and limits in working with Black/African American clients and musics. The thesis pivoted to a critical interpretive synthesis investigating gaps in music therapy academic literature regarding Black/African American clients and musics, and resources that may fill those gaps. The thesis is rooted in standpoint epistemology and includes personal reflections on my process as a white music therapist. I searched academic databases for potentially relevant articles and focused on sources that discussed Black experiences in music therapy, excluding materials outside of music therapy, those that discussed Black perspectives in problematic or limited ways, and those focused on race in general or multicultural issues without naming Black experiences as such. I included 13 sources in my synthesis, which yielded significant themes in terms of revealing gaps: (a) racist contexts, (b) silencing Black music therapists, and (c) silencing Black musics. The synthesis also revealed a theme of filling in gaps, including two subthemes of Black community and white authors discussing their biases and dealing with ruptures. Notably, the synthesis brought contrast to the utter inadequacy of the metaphor of gaps that framed the research questions, since the failures that the synthesis revealed were systemic in nature.

Additional Information

Smith, W. (2022). What About Black Music? Exploring A Gap In Music Therapy Training. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2022
Music Therapy, Multicultural Music Therapy, Music Therapy Education, Critical Interpretive Synthesis, Black Music

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