By Brynjulf Stige (Norway)
Since the beginning in 2001, Voices has defined itself as “A World Forum for Music Therapy.” This is articulated in our vision and it is manifest in the series “Country of the Month.” Still, perhaps we do not deserve the label “world forum” unless our journal also reflects the variety of practices and cultures of music therapy across continents.
In Volume 12(3), the present issue of the journal, you will find an essay by the Brazilian music therapist Lia Rejane Barcellos on one theoretical perspective on relationships between music and meaning. The article is published in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. You will also find an article by the Canadian music therapists Sandi Curtis and Guylaine Vaillancourt on an innovative program which increases awareness of the rights of children with disabilities, as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children. Furthermore, you will find an article by Lisa Jackert from the US, who works in a psychiatric hospital and shares her experience of performing at the memorial services of a man who shot and killed two others before killing himself. These articles from three different countries of the American continents are then followed by an article from UK. Music therapist Alex Street writes about how he used rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) and songwriting in his work with a man with traumatic brain injury. These four articles in the “Original Voices” section are followed by an interview in our “international archive.” The Norwegian music therapists Karette Stensæth and Gro Trondalen present an interview with Colwyn Trevarthen and Stein Bråten, two influential researchers on communicative musicality and intersubjective mirroring in infant learning.
In the “Research Voices” section, the Finnish music therapists Anita Forsblom and Esa Ala-Ruona have investigated the professional competences of music therapists working in post-stroke rehabilitation. The Korean-Australian music therapist Ju-young Lee and Australian music therapist Katrina McFerran have investigated the improvement of non-verbal communication skills of five females with profound and multiple disabilities. Finally, in this section, Brazilian music therapists Martha N.S. Vianna, Arnaldo P. Barbosa, Albelino S. Carvalhaes, and Antonio J. L. A. Cunha have studied how music therapy can increase breastfeeding rates among mothers of premature newborns. This RCT is also part of our “international archive.”
Taken together, the variety in topics, theories, and methodologies is quite fascinating, and so is the cultural and geographical variety. Our journal Voices seems to deserve the label a “world forum.” But while we should be content with the varied content in this issue, we should still not be content with the variety. It is already impressive but there are some countries and cultures of music therapy that are under-represented in our forum. To be a world forum is not an achieved state, it is a process. This is the work of Voices. We appreciate your contributions and welcome new ideas and initiatives.