Thursday, January 16, 2014

Creating New Worlds

When you create music, you create a new world.

Beatwell Playshop at Baltimore Lab School

I recently began joining a therapy group with two high schoolers. The "regular," weekly group therapy at school was not working out for the boys.

In this "Plan B" group, the school's therapist is expected to incorporate drumming, but has no prior experience.

This is where I come in.

Within minutes, I recognized a major dynamic between the two boys. They interact as bully and victim.

When engaged in a verbal context, one of the boys is downright cruel. 

However, the other has adapted by responding sarcastically, showing no chink in his armor.

The bully doesn't get the rise he's looking for, and the pursuit continues.

But when we all played music together for the first time, I felt a shift.


Sure, their personality characteristics were still expressed—the bully took the driver's seat and we all went along for the ride.

But in this new world, the "bully" was now being supported.

We all worked as one team, expressing our individual voices while creating and continuously recreating one improvised world.

What a powerful metaphor!

Sometimes we get comfortable in our roles. Making music provides the space to explore new worlds, and thus a chance to explore new aspects of ourselves.

When I return to the group tomorrow, I plan to continue strengthening this more positive world of expression.

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