Freedom Dreams: What Must Die in Music Therapy to Preserve Human Dignity?


  • Marisol Samantha Norris



police brutality, radical imagination, culturally sustaining practice, Black clients, Black aesthetics, protests, Breonna Taylor


This commentary was written on the week of September 28, 2020, as grand jury decisions on the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, were publicly announced on news and media outlets. Six months after Breonna Taylor's brutal murder in Louisville, Kentucky (United States), justice for her life has not been actualized. The author reflects on this injustice and discusses its relationship to anti-Black violence and systemic oppression in music therapy culture and practice.


Author Biography

Marisol Samantha Norris

Marisol Norris is a music therapist and critical arts therapies educator.  She received Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Oakwood College and Master's and doctoral degrees in creative arts therapies with specializations in music therapy at Drexel University. Her music therapy clinical and supervisory experience has spanned medical and community health settings and includes work with adult psychiatric and dually diagnosed populations, adolescents facing homelessness, families within the city court system, and medically fragile children with complex trauma. These experiences have profoundly contributed to her relational-cultural lens of music therapy theory and praxis and her dedication to expanding the understanding of Black clients’ aesthetic music and health experiences. Her research focus includes the role of cultural memory and aesthetics in therapist and client meaning-making processes, pedagogical approaches to music therapy cultural competence training.

Marisol will be joining the College of Nursing and Health Professions' Creative Arts Therapies Department at Drexel University as Director of Music Therapy and Assistant Clinical Professor winter 2021.




How to Cite

Norris, M. S. (2020). Freedom Dreams: What Must Die in Music Therapy to Preserve Human Dignity?. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 20(3), 4.