OUPBlog: Oxford University Press's Academic Insights for the Thinking World
Bob Marley sings, “One good thing about music—when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Although this may be the case for some people and in some circumstances, we dispute this statement as a global truth. After all, couldn’t any phenomenon commanding enough to alleviate human pain (ostensibly instantaneously) also harbor the potential to catalyze undesirable, even injurious, effects? And couldn’t this influence then logically extend to music employed within the context of a therapeutic process? As music therapist and Concordia University Associate Professor Dr. Laurel Young writes, “the ‘miraculous’ effects of music as featured in popular media along with the widely accepted notion that music is a ‘universal’ medium can lead to false generalizations and over-simplification of how music can and should be used in healthcare or other psychosocial contexts.” One possible manifestation of this oversimplification is to view music as a noninvasive and wholly-positive cure-all, and thus disregard the potential risks associated with music engagement.
Oxford University Press
Hiller, James and Gardstrom, Susan, "Warning: Music Therapy Comes with Risks" (2019). Music Faculty Publications. 20.