First Post…A new container!

I love the song by Gotye entitled, “Somebody that I used to know”.   It has a great lyric and the melody/chords are simple and hypnotic which sparked an idea to use it as a bridge for songwriting as well as to facilitate improvisational music making.  I recently decided to use it for processing grief through an issue-based songwriting intervention.     I chose to not reveal the song or recording of it.  Turns out, the client hadn’t heard the song anyway. I asked for words and syllables to fill in parts of sentences. I used piano for the session. The song chords that I found were in D minor. After working with my client it turned out that Bb was a much easier vocal key. During the session (one hour) the client was able to do the following: complete the lyrics, learn the melody by rote for voice, sing in rhythm, learn a few notes to play an improvised accompaniment, and ultimately sing and play at the same time. None of these accomplishments were part of my client’s treatment plan. Rather, the issues addressed through the intervention were: addressing feelings of grief and building self esteem. Both of those objectives were met during the session through the content of the lyrics and verbal processing of the same, the use of improvisational techniques to allow for self-expression, and the sense of completion attained by client as evidenced by her verbalization of the same. For playing the song in Bb- , I copied the left hand pattern on the piano that is performed on bass in the recording and comped chords with my right hand. Verse chords are: Bb- to Ab. Chorus chords are: Bb-, Ab, F#. For improvisations I alternated the verse and chorus patterns to follow the client. For the client, using all black keys plus F and C created a good pallet for improvisation over the harmony provided by the therapist.   { As info: improvisation was facilitated using Bruscia’s  techniques of :  empathy, structuring, elicitation, emotional exploration, and discussion (Bruscia,1987, pp 535-557).}  

Song : “Somebody that I used to Know” by Gotye (single by Gotye featuring Kimbra from the album, Making Mirrors).

Issue based songwriting : Cordobes, Tania K. Group Songwriting as a Method for Developing Group Cohesion for HIV-Seropositive Adult Patients with Depression. Journal of Music Therapy, Spring 1997, Vol. 34, No 1.

Bruscia, K, (1987).   Improvisational Models of Music Therapy.  Springfield Illinois: Charles C. Thomas Publishers.


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