[Guest Post] OCMT Sponsor- Music Together Within Therapy

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[Guest Post] OCMT Sponsor- Music Together Within Therapy

By: Carol Ann Blank, MMT, MT-BC

Guest Post #3

During my presentation, I’ll be talking about how I became interested in tacit knowledge in music therapy practice with parent-child dyads.  Here’s just a taste…

My dissertation research utilizes ground theory methods (Charmaz, 2014) to analyze interviews of music therapists.  Part of this process is to assign phrases or action words to portions of the transcript that help me to answer the question: What are the processes music therapists go through when making clinical decisions?  The whole process of qualitative inquiry (and research in general), in fact, is asking questions.  The interview is a set of questions; during the interview I ask more questions based on how the interview progresses.  

When I read the transcripts, I ask myself more questions. The segments of the transcript often don’t answer the question directly.  Rather, these segments cause me to ask more questions!  It’s a mess, actually.  A beautiful, confusing, illuminating mess.  

Let me give you a for instance.  In one of the interviews, I noticed that a therapist used a particular musical construction (a way of using music) in what appeared to be an intentional way.  She held out the resolution of the cadence of a song she was singing.  I asked her about that.  Why did she do that?  What was she hoping would happen?  Did what happen actually occur?  

At the same time, I got curious about how she knew that holding the cadence was the right thing to do?  So I asked her.

When interviewing respondents, it is so important to create an environment in which the respondent can feel free to answer or not to answer the researcher’s questions.  This is similar to the clinical setting, but calls up a different set of skills (that is a discussion for another time!).  As the interviewer, I have to remain open to the idea that what I might learn from the respondent could shift the course of my research.  I have to be comfortable with looking at data with a sense of not-knowing exactly what I am looking at.  

I was inspired to look at music therapy processes by one of the Keynote Speakers for OCMT 2016.  Mercédès Pavlicevic’s Music Therapy Intimate Notes (1999).  Please plan on attending her session.  I certainly am looking forward to this wonderful event.  


Charmaz, K. (2014). Introducing qualitative methods (2nd Edition). Thousand OAKES, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Pavlicevic, M. (1999). Music therapy intimate notes. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers Ltd.

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