Rick Soshensky presents a groundbreaking introduction to music’s power to heal and transform, weaving a collection of uplifting case studies from his music therapy practice with ideas from spiritual traditions, philosophies, psychological theorists, and music therapy researchers. Going beyond just theoretical and clinical information, The Music Therapy Studio: Empowering the Soul’s Truth centers on the stories and experiences of people with disabilities—marginalized people for whom the world allows little time or place but whose extraordinary musical journeys teach us about the unseen depths and indomitability of the human spirit.
Soshensky investigates core concepts of a music-centered approach—the experience of music as a creative art with clients that has intrinsic value and supersedes diagnostic labeling and behavioral goal setting. The result is unique and inspirational text that leads us towards a deeper understanding and appreciation of music therapy and music’s spiritual benefits.
Rick Soshensky, MA, LCAT, MT-BC, NRMT, is a nationally known music therapist. His work has been featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Fox Radio. He operates Hudson Valley Creative Arts Therapy Studio and teaches in the music therapy departments at SUNY New Paltz and Molloy College.
Foreword by Jon Samson
Part I: Music Therapy Studio: The Foundation
Introduction: Welcome to the Studio
Alan: A Search for Competence
What Makes It Therapy?
Connection, Communication, Expansion
Chapter 1: My Journey into Music Therapy
What is the Relationship Between “Typical” Musicianship and Music Therapy?
Oh, Yeah, My Sister Has a Relaxing Music App: Misunderstanding Music Therapy
Backstory: So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star
Paradigm Shift: My Discovery of Music Therapy
Back to School: Well, Not So Fast
Clinician: Who, Me?
Life is Dukkha
Chapter 2: Music Therapy Studio
Activities of Musicians
Which Way Do We Go
Digging the Well
The Four Experiential States of Music Therapy
The Socio-Political Impetus of Music as Therapy
Love Me for Who I Am
Genius, Prophet, Patient
Daniel: Heaven and Earth
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.
Noel: To Make a Better World for All to See
Chapter 3: Sacred Space
The Music Room
Chapter 4: Lessons from Nordoff-Robbins
The Music Child
The Musical Form Itself is the Intervention
We Are Here to Work
Indexing and Assessment
The Archetypal Aspects of Music
Changes in Musical Expression are Seen as Significant Changes in Self
Living in the Creative Now
A New Moral Reality
Thomas: Being in Music
Part II: Music Therapy Studio: The Framework
Chapter 5: Instruction and Practice
Practice, Practice, Practice. Then Forget All That and Just Wail
Susannah: Facing the Challenges of Autism
BioNeuro Music Therapy
We All Learn from Each Other
James: Broken Brain
Chapter 6: Jamming
Improvisation: Playing Without Memory
David: The Healing Power of Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”
Owen: A Beautiful Connection
Idiom and Archetype
Facilitating Risky Interaction: Giving Permission to Express What’s There
Clinical Aesthetics: The Systems Model of Creativity
Danielle: Not So Tough
Chapter 7: Composing
“Songwriting? What Do I Know About Songwriting?”
Songs as Personal Mythology
Chapter 8: Performing & Recording
What You Say Here, Stays Here. What You Play Here Well, That Might Go Somewhere
Hey Gang, Let’s Put On a Show!
Public Expression as Therapy: Essential Questions
Community Music Therapy
Director/Producer/Music Therapist: Whose Work is This, Anyway?
Darryl: I Was Alone
Together We Dream - Together We Heal
Some Benefits of a Recording Project in a Post-Acute Rehab Setting We Can (Hopefully) All Agree Upon
John: Set Me Free!
Chapter 9: Goals
Ronnie: Hello, Goodbye
There is No Such Thing as Resistance, Only Imperfect Communication
What Are We Looking For?
Therapist - 1, Client - 0: Documenting Measurable Behavior.
The Elements of Well-Being
Flow and the Elements of Well-Being
Documenting the Elements of Well-Being
Adapting the Elements of Well-Being
If You Don't Know Where You're Going, You Might Not Get There
Chapter 10: Ritual
The Children’s Performance Group: Redefining Expectations
God Bless America: It Almost Didn’t Happen That Way.
Music Contains Magic
Clinical Paradigm Shift
Part III: Music Therapy Studio: The Philosophy
Chapter 11: Transcendance
The Famous Double Slit Experiment
And That’s Not All
Far Out, Man But What Does This Have to Do with Music Therapy?
David Hawkins’s Levels of Consciousness
I’m Picking Up Good Vibrations: Practical Applications
Expression vs. Depression: Shifting the Directionality of Life Energy
The Transcendence of Individual Identity: The Whole Universe is Singing
Rose: Set the Artist Free
Chapter 12: Curing Versus Healing
Akashic Records: Nothing is Irrevocably Lost but Everything is Irrevocably Stored
You Are the Universe
Die and Be Again
No Axe to Grind
Can I Change All the Darkness and Misery in the World? No. Can I Bring Music Into Those Places? Yes
And That's All I Have to Say About That
It’s time we learn more about how music therapy can play a key role in healing and enriching the spiritual path. The Music Therapy Studio is a place of grace—extraordinary tales of the soul.
Rick beautifully illustrates the way music can reveal a whole other dimension of a person that wasn’t there before, fostering growth and carrying over to other aspects of a person’s life, engendering a fuller life experience.
Step into the shoes of a music therapist who has dedicated his life to shining a light on some of the most feared and abandoned crevices of the human condition. Soshensky's work and philosophy demonstrate what’s possible when we hold another person’s value—patient or not—as equal to our own.
An inspiring and thoughtful collection of stories for anyone pursuing music therapy as a career. At once heartwarming and intellectually challenging, Rick Soshensky integrates ideas from psychology, spiritual traditions, and music therapy in an engaging and thought provoking narrative.