Thanks to all the readers who have responded to “Billie, Ella or Sarah?” Terry Teachout’s Saturday Wall Street Journal column (reserved for subscribers) prompted my post. The responses continue to come in this morning. I’ll try to round them up and post them tonight. As a preview in the meantime, here is one from Lyle Sanford — “a registered music therapist” and fan of Terry Teachout’s About Last Night — that is representative of the thoughtful responses we have received:
i’m a regular reader of “powerline” and “about last night” – and i’m a registered music therapist and have given a lot of thought to questions such as this – so, for what it’s worth –
1. here’s an almanac quote mr. teachout put up a month or so ago that seems apposite:
“If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.” — John Cage
2. if a piece of music affects you physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually in a way you find beneficial, that’s the bottom line for you and that piece of music – whether or not some other individual has some other response is neither here nor there
3. i have long maintained that professional musicians and critics process music in a manner different from that of the lay listener – if you practice a piece hundreds and hundreds of times, or listen to it dozens and dozens of times, you’re going to be very familiar with it on all levels – one way this expresses itself (in my mind, at least) is tempi – a tempo that might seem sluggish to a pro/critic might be just the ticket for someone just coming to the music and experiencing all the sensations for the first time
in the article in question, mr. teachout writes, “I hear little in them but recycled riffs and licks, delivered with tremendous brio but not intrinsically all that interesting.” – which is something only a professional player or critic could say, because if you’re coming jazz singing with a fresher ear, you’re not going to know what’s recycled and what’s not for quite some time
big fan of both blogs – thanks for all the time given
Does anyone know a good music therapist in the Twin Cities?
UPDATE: Duane Oyen writes:
You appear not to be aware that a “music therapist” is actually much less a touchy-feely, Mother Earth, alternative life style con artist. Among my other activities, I earned a nurse license back in ’98, and found this out in my nursing home clinical rotations. There is actually a very real therapy element to gathering residents together, whether elderly or mentally disabled, and using music for emotional uplift in the same way that you do yourself at a much more sophisticated level.
There are old-time sing-alongs, with song selection geared toward
distant memories — kind of a “this is your life” for a 90-year-old. It has a noticeable effect on the people. FYI- it IS a real job, not that different from dispensing meds!