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January 2022

Interpreting adolescents' music

Journal/Book: Journal of Child Care. 1985; 2: 55-62.

Abstract: Advocates the use of music that is popular with adolescents as a resource for therapeutic understanding and appropriate intervention with emotionally disturbed children. Emphasis is placed on interpretation of lyrical and social symbolism of the music to clarify the adolescent's use of and orientation to music. It is asserted that music can be an expression of the adolescent self and a projection of the psychodynamics and psychosocial processes that constitute subjective psychological makeup. Several interpretive possibilities of adolescent use of music are offered, including role playing a musical performance (mock rock), lyrical identification, and self-expression in musical performance. Specific examples from the author's experience in a residential setting are offered to illustrate interpretive possibilities of adolescent behavior in relation to popular music. It is concluded that popular music can provide a valuable communication vehicle and resource for assessment of and intervention with emotionally disturbed adolescents.

Note: lyrical & social symbolism of popular music; therapeutic understanding & intervention; emotionally disturbed adolescents

Keyword(s): Music therapy; emotionally disturbed; adolescents


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