Aesthetic experience and transformation in music therapy: A critical essay
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Tsiris, G. (2008) Aesthetic experience and transformation in music therapy: A critical essay, Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, vol. 8, , pp. 3,
The present paper is a critical essay which is based on Aigen's (2007, p. 127) premise that aesthetic experience involves and models processes of transformation that are necessary parts of successful music therapy. From his premise, three basic points emerge: aesthetic experience, transformation and successful music therapy. Based on these points I structure my essay in four parts. In the first part I do a brief retrospective review of the philosophical discourse of aesthetics, as this emerged in ancient Greece and later on in the eighteenth and nineteenth century in Western Europe. The second part concerns the nature of aesthetic experience and its relevance to music therapy where my focus is mainly concentrated on Aigen's concept of music as a medium and its fundamental relation to Dewey's ideas. The third part of the essay concerns transformation, its meaning and its role in therapy. I explore the concept of transformation as an intermediate stage between death and rebirth by drawing mainly from humanistic approaches and Rogers' notion of becoming a person. The connection of aesthetic experience with processes of transformation is revealed through their common inherent characteristics of change, growth, and tension. In the last part, I define what successful music therapy means by identifying its clinical aims. I also develop the importance of aesthetic experience and transformation in the framework of music-centered music therapy, while I conclude by suggesting its significance to the broader field of music therapy.