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November 2022

Synchronistic time in music: a theoretical model of music therapy based on the work of William Sears

Abstract: William Sears presented a model of music therapy based on three experiences thought to be provided by involvement in music activities: experience within structure, experience in self-organization, and experience in relating to others. Sears explained that these experiences are desirable in the therapeutic setting, and that the time-ordered nature of music expediently provides these experiences. In this paper, an expansion of Sears' model is presented. Called the Synchronistic Time (S-T) Model of Music Therapy, it focuses explicitly on the time-orderdness of music and is designed to illustrate that, in providing the three experiences as described by Sears, music induces a time orientation known as Synchronization. At the core of the model is the belief that people in need of therapy are dyssynchronous with their own body rhythms and/or the rhythms of their environment. Therefore, the ultimate therapeutic goal is to help people synchronize. Throughout the presentation, various research studies, including those of Condon, Leonard, Bower, Brazleton, Melges, Dossey, and Hall, are cited. Through references to these and other authors, the concept of Synchronistic Time and its relationship to music is expounded. The S-T model contains three major points of focus: (1) the goal of therapy - the achievement of synchronistic time sense, (2) the client/therapist interaction as part of that goal, and (3) the use of music in the therapeutic situation. Each is explored separately, followed by a discussion of the model as a whole and its importance to practitioners.

Keyword(s): synchrony, theory, music-therapy, William-Sears, synchronistic-time-in-music.

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