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E. Thayer Gaston. “Father of American Music Therapy”. Gaston. ANTHROPOLOGY: The scientific study of the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of humans. ). MAN AND HIS MUSIC (E. Thayer Gaston, 1968). “Music is human behavior”

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E. Thayer Gaston

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E. Thayer Gaston

“Father of American

Music Therapy”


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Gaston

  • ANTHROPOLOGY: The scientific study of the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of humans. )


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MAN AND HIS MUSIC (E. Thayer Gaston, 1968)

  • “Music is human behavior”

  • Believed that the study of Music Therapy was best performed through methods used in Behavioral Sciences.

  • Gaston believed in a multidisciplinary approach to gaining knowledge toward the understanding of people and their needs and in the application of music interventions.


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DEVELOPMENT OF MAN

  • “We live in a universe, not a diverse situation.”

  • Man has evolved into a primarily social being first and an individual second.

  • An individual’s SELF-ACTUALIZATION functions to promote him/her into more significant group relationships.

  • The development of more complex social behaviors occurred concurrently with the increase in the size and complexity of mans brain, which makes possible speech, communication, and abstract thinking.


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MAN AND HIS SENSES—MUSIC

  • “Basically and completely, it is man’s sensory experience of hearing that makes possible his music.”

  • “The greater the sensory development of an organism, the richer the outside world of that organism.”

  • i.e., Music functions to enrich man’s life.


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MAN AND HIS SENSES—MUSIC

  • “Our senses provide us with the basic material of what is to be our intelligence…”

  • Without music, we can never develop to our full human potential.

  • Experiments performed re: sensory deprivation—led to brain damage and loss of potential to learn.

  • Experience of organization and orderliness are essential for effective, meaningful human living.

    -There is a universal demand for organization, for through organization we can learn, understand, and grow further.


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Need for Aesthetic Experiences

  • “Man cannot escape the formation of aesthetic constructs.”

  • Our nervous systems demand not only sensory input, but novelty and variation of such input.

  • “Aesthetic experience may be one of the best devices to help man adjust and adapt to his environment.”

  • Man would be less complete without aesthetic experience.

  • “The most effective attention is that wherein novelty comes from variations on the familiar, from dependency to some extent on what has already been programmed in the memory system.” (Re-creative methods?)


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Need for Aesthetic Experiences

  • Repetition leads to monotony and disinterest.

  • Too much novelty (i.e., not enough repetition) leads to decrease in attention.

  • Organized variation—as through music—is important for maximum attention of the nervous system.


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RHYTHM: THE ORGANIZER AND ENERGIZER

  • “It is rhythm alone that makes possible the temporal order of music.”

  • Rhythm is the most influential factor of music.

  • If rhythmic order cannot be established, then melody and harmony lose their potency.

  • Historically, Rhythm has brought people together to dance, to work, etc… without the need for words.


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RHYTHM: THE ORGANIZER AND ENERGIZER

  • “It is the amount of rhythm and the manner in which the rhythm is indicated that determine, in large part, the amount of energy invested in the physical response to music.”

  • Rhythm is the primitive, driving factor of music. Active muscle potentials are initiated as a response to rhythm (as compared to melody or harmony).


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MAN’S BEHAVIOR WITH HIS MUSIC

  • “Music is non-verbal communication.”

  • Group music functions to bring people into membership and acceptance.


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GASTON’S CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE USE OF MUSIC IN THERAPY (8)

  • ALL MANKIND HAS NEED FOR AESTHETIC EXPRESSION AND EXPERIENCE

    2. THE CULTURAL MATRIX DETERMINES THE MODE OF EXPRESSION

    • Client must be exposed to music that they can understand/comprehend; i.e., from their “culture.”


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GASTON’S CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE USE OF MUSIC IN THERAPY

3. MUSIC AND RELIGION ARE INTEGRALLY RELATED

  • Music and religion (supposedly) function to draw people together.

    4. MUSIC IS COMMUNICATION

  • “It is the wordless meaning of music that provides its potency and value.”

  • “There would be no music and no need for it if it were possible to communicate verbally that which is communicated musically.”


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GASTON’S CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE USE OF MUSIC IN THERAPY

5. MUSIC IS STRUCTURED REALITY

  • “All the senses bring to us aspects of reality.”

  • All the musical elements require astounding preciseness, and thus attention to detail brought about through conscious use of them.

    6. MUSIC IS DERIVED FROM THE TENDER EMOTIONS

  • …and thus leads to more intense/significant group (social) participation.


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GASTON’S CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE USE OF MUSIC IN THERAPY

7. MUSIC IS A SOURCE OF GRATIFICATION

  • “Music permits and encourages each person to participate dynamically in his/her own growth and change.”

    8. THE POTENCY OF MUSIC IS GREATEST IN THE GROUP

  • “The chief aim of therapy is to enable the individual to function at his best in society.”

  • “Music, by its very nature, draws people together for the purpose of intimate, yet ordered, function.”


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