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The Music of Being

The Music of Being

Music Therapy, Winnicott and the School of Object Relations

Alison Levinge

Quick Overview

Alison Levinge explains the approaches of four child development theorists and explores how they apply to and inform the practice of music therapy. The focus is on D.W. Winnicott whose infant theory is influenced by the medium of music and resonates with the central aspects of music therapy.
Details Price Qty
Paperback / softback
2015, 8.98in x 6.18in / 228mm x 157mm, 176pp
ISBN: 978-1-84905-576-5
2015, ePUB, 176pp
ISBN: 978-1-78450-019-1
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This book explores how the work of key child development theorists informs music therapy practice with children and families.

Focusing primarily on the theoretical thinking and understanding of the paediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, Alison Levinge highlights how his theories resonate with the central aspects of music therapy. Central to the book are Winnicott's ideas on play and an exploration of his understanding of the psychological processes of 'holding'. Winnicott's theories are given greater depth and understanding by referencing the writings of Adam Phillips and Christopher Bollas. Consideration of relevant aspects of Bowlby's theories will also be included.

Knowledge of these theories of child development helps to support understanding of the music therapy process, making this book vital reading for both students and practitioners of music therapy.


'For the last 10 years, all the music therapy training courses in the UK have been teaching students about Winnicott's theories. Here, at last, is a book by an experienced music therapy clinician entirely devoted to looking at the strong links between Winnicott's thinking and music therapy practice. In this cleverly crafted, thoughtful and elegant work, case studies beautifully illustrate, clarify and bring to life these important links.'
- Amelia Oldfield, music therapist and author of 'Flute, Accordion or Clarinet?: Using the Characteristics of Our Instruments in Music Therapy'

'In this important book Alison Levinge provides some powerful insights, from her perspective as a music therapist, into the work of one the 20th century's most innovative psychoanalysts. Of particular value to music therapists will be her understanding of Winnicott's recognition of the centrality of unspoken experience to the therapeutic process, and her emphasis on the importance of 'play', in every sense. This book will not only be a resource for students of music therapy: it will be something for all music therapists to return to throughout professional life.'
- Eleanor Richards, Senior Lecturer in Music Therapy, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

'This is a welcome addition to the music therapy literature in which Alison Levinge explores the relevance of Winnicott's theories and approach to music therapy, and in particular to her own practice. This is not scientific research or an academic tome, rather a book by a practising clinician, drawing heavily on personal experience. There are no references to the clinical work of other music therapists or indeed to music therapy theory in general. Instead her approach is to relate her own practice to the ideas of Winnicott with reference to other important figures in psychoanalysis, in particular the object relations school. Levinge writes with great feeling and insight, bringing in numerous clinical examples from diverse settings. It is in her discussion of these clinical vignettes that the book really comes to live... Levinge has an intimate, conversational style, which makes for an enjoyable read...'
- Luke Annesley


By (author): Alison Levinge