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Rod Paton
from: Rod Paton
Category: Improvisation

from Jon Blend: - "What is Lifemusic?"

Lifemusic is an accessible, participatory form of improvised music-making. Therapeutic rather than therapy per se, it is socially inclusive and aims to enrich lives and strengthen communities.

?Lifemusic draws on our human capacity to create and make music. Its origins lie in community music as practiced across the globe over centuries drawing on the oral tradition, free jazz, music therapy, progressive education and world music. The approach was devised by composer/Jungian music therapist Dr Rod Paton at Chichester University in 1988. The method is unique in that it can be learned and used by both musically trained and untrained individuals.

?Lifemusic groups take place in a variety of settings: working with disabled persons, in Health and Education projects, even in the corporate sector. Courses have been taken by a broad range of people working in the caring professions.

Music is essentially sound organised in such a way that the end result carries deeper meaning and purpose. We make music to put ourselves in touch with this deeper meaning: it makes our lives more significant and connects us intimately to each other. Making music flows naturally from being human: it is a language of emotion that we all ‘speak’ from the outset and can communicate through.

?Lifemusic has the following four precepts:

  • everyone is musical

  • there are no wrong notes

  • every sound you make carries meaning

  • music-making is an act of trust

There is a rich tradition of composed (notated) music in European culture. However, veneration of the ‘Western musical canon’ tends to ignore the ability of the majority of humankind to make music for themselves. Today the omnipresence of iTunes, music streaming and the music industry renders us more often than not consumers rather than creators. Yet music as sound flows naturally from on

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