Image via WikipediaI knew someday I'd find a way to link cooking and music therapy! (Can I get a "huzzah!"? Anyone? Anyone?)
Well, actually, Joanne Loewy, a fellow music therapist- who was one of my grad school teachers at Hahnemann- always used food as a metaphor when she talked about music therapy.
And this is sort of like that. But different. Follow me here. This gets a bit twisty.
There I was dozing off on the couch with the television tuned to a PBS station, and I somehow woke up just in time to see the last ten minutes of Avec Eric, which is a foodie cooking show (we love food!).
Eric, for those of you who are wondering, is a chef in New York, and he has a show on TV where he travels around and talks to other chefs and then shares his own recipes.
Okay, are you with me so far? Good.
Well. I was half listening to the conversation between Eric and the chef he was interviewing for this particular show, David Kinch. David had made some fabulous food thing for Eric, and they were eating it (with great appreciation, I might add) and discussing what made it wonderful.
Here's where my ears perked up, and I thought, "Hunh!"
Eric had complimented David because he said he could really taste the vegetables he'd used in the dish. And (here's the really neat part) David responded by saying how, when he was a young chef, he was always looking to add one more ingredient to the dish. As he's matured, he noted, he tries to keep the dishes as simple and basic as possible, always wondering what he can take away so that he can retain the essence of the main ingredients he has chosen. Eric agreed, saying it was indeed important to have "star ingredients".
"YES!!" (I thought loudly). That's exactly the process I experienced as I matured as a music therapist!
When I was a young music therapist I was always looking for bigger and better activities. I remember having session plans with lists of things: first we'll do this, then we'll do a bit of that, then we'll work on this, then we'll look at that... On and on. It was a never-ending quest to come up with the perfect activity that would finally motivate my clients. If this activity didn't work, surely another one would.
All to no avail.
Then, when I started to receive clinical supervision, I learned that my clients are the "star ingredients" in a session. And I didn't need to focus on (or even do) activities. I just needed to learn as much as I could about the primary "ingredient" (my client) and to figure out which gentle seasonings (if you will) this person might need in order to truly emerge and shine.
Now I no longer do activities. Instead, I engage in the process of getting to know the wonderful flavors that make up the person sitting in front of me in a session. I use the music (as opposed to kitchen tools), sparingly at times, copiously at others, depending on how much is needed at a given point.
I have finally learned that it's not about how much I do in a session, but rather whether or not I was able to provide my client the space to be.
Here's a link to the actual show if you'd like to see it and be inspired as well.