Moving with the (im)pulse: The role of movement and music in the therapeutic relationship with a 6-year old boy - a microanalysis of a meaningful moment in music therapy Liana
The aim of this professional project was to explore the role of movement and music in the therapeutic relationship with a 6-year-old boy during a meaningful moment in music therapy. While research on movement expression in music therapy exists, its exploration has rarely been the main focus of study within the music therapy literature. To address this gap a self-designed, mixed method video microanalysis was used to investigate micro processes of movement and music interactions between myself and my student and this was underpinned by a hermeneutic phenomenological stance. Of the three key findings, the first pertained to the role of rhythm in the therapy and was broken into two ‘sub’-findings. The first sub-finding indicated that the steady rhythm present during most of the clip appeared to provide security for the student in a manner similar to the ‘secure base’ concept of attachment theory. The second sub-finding indicated that the steady rhythm also acted as a catalyst for intermodal engagement. Interestingly, during these moments the student’s musical responses appeared intentional and within his control, while his physical (movement) responses appeared reflexive and driven by the rhythm. The second finding highlighted moments of movement synchronicity between the student and me, and this appeared to occur through our shared sense of rhythmic pulse. The third finding showed that both the student and I initiated moments of ‘breaking state’ in our shared improvisation, where this was initiated by the student through physical actions and initiated by me through musical actions. These moments of change led to newness in the relationship and appeared to bring delight to the student which was expressed through his body. Further exploration of the roles of movement in music therapy settings is recommended and the use of microanalysis is highlighted as a helpful tool in exposing the subtle array of movement communications which take place within the musical therapeutic relationship.