Thoughts on the relation of the DEIND project to music therapy

17 May 2013

Music therapy utilises music for therapeutic means. This particularly means that often the music itself is not in the centre of attention, rather it is a tool used in the treatment process e.g. to trigger certain reactions and emotions of the client.

Music therapy can be classified to be either receptive or active.

  • Receptive means that certain pieces of music are known to trigger certain reactions (depending as well on the kind of disease). They are then played back as cues.
  • Active means that the therapeutic session includes also music making (some approaches focus solely on this, see e.g. Nordoff Robbins) in order to establish a nonverbal communication channel between client and therapist.

In these strands of music therapy, there exist various schools that I will list here when I find out about them:

  • Nordoff Robbins — The Nordoff Robbins approach utilises music in a creative fashion and incorporates music practice into the therapy sessions. It relies solely on non-verbal cues and an experience that is shared between client and therapist.
  • Orff Music Therapy — “[D]eveloped in Germany by Gertrud Orff at the Kinderzentrum München in Munich, Germany. It has been used as a therapy with children with developmental delays and disabilities for over thirty years at the Kinderzentrum München.”


Relation of the DEIND project to music therapy

Rather than focusing on the therapeutic outcome of music practice, the DEIND project pays attention to music practice itself with the aim to empower people with special needs to express themselves in a musical way.

Aesthetically, the development process focuses on experimental electronic music including genres like post-Schaefferian electroacoustic music, techno, microsound, glitch, ambient, drone, noise, chill-out, soundscape, and field recording.

Although the intended direction of DEIND is not in music therapy, this does not prevent it from having a close cooperation with music therapists. As with other involved disciplines (e.g., DSP, IxD, Product Design, e-Textiles, Tangible Interfaces, Computer Science, Musicology), we think that a crossdisciplinary approach will significantly enhance the project’s quality and might even feed back new insights to music therapy research.