Perspectives on musical care throughout the life course: introducing the Musical Care International Network

Spiro, N. and Sanfilippo, K. R. M. and McConnell, B. B. and Pike-Rowney, G. and Bonini Baraldi, F. and Brabec, B. and Van Buren, K. and Camlin, D. A. and Cardoso, T. M. and Çifdalöz, B. U. and Cross, I. and Dumbauld, B. and Ettenberger, M. and Falkenberg, K. and Fouché, S. and Frid, E. and Gosine, J. and graham-jackson, a. l. and Grahn, J. A. and Harrison, K. and Ilari, B. and Mollison, S. and Morrison, S. J. and Pérez-Acosta, G. and Perkins, R. and Pitt, J. and Rabinowitch, T. C. and Robledo, J. P. and Roginsky, E. and Shaughnessy, C. and Sunderland, N. and Talmage, A. and Tsiris, G. and de Wit, K. (2023) Perspectives on musical care throughout the life course: introducing the Musical Care International Network. Music & Science, 6 pp. 1-18. ISSN 2059-2043 (online)


In this paper we report on the inaugural meetings of the Musical Care International Network held online in 2022. The term “musical care” is defined by Spiro and Sanfilippo (2022) as “the role of music—music listening as well as music-making—in supporting any aspect of people's developmental or health needs” (pp. 2–3). Musical care takes varied forms in different cultural contexts and involves people from different disciplines and areas of expertise. Therefore, the Musical Care International Network takes an interdisciplinary and international approach and aims to better reflect the disciplinary, geographic, and cultural diversity relevant to musical care. Forty-two delegates participated in 5 inaugural meetings over 2 days, representing 24 countries and numerous disciplines and areas of practice. Based on the meetings, the aims of this paper are to (1) better understand the diverse practices, applications, contexts, and impacts of musical care around the globe and (2) introduce the Musical Care International Network. Transcriptions of the recordings, alongside notes taken by the hosts, were used to summarise the conversations. The discussions developed ideas in three areas: (a) musical care as context-dependent and social, (b) musical care's position within the broader research and practice context, and (c) debates about the impact of and evidence for musical care. We can conclude that musical care refers to context-dependent and social phenomena. The term musical care was seen as useful in talking across boundaries while not minimizing individual disciplinary and professional expertise. The use of the term was seen to help balance the importance and place of multiple disciplines, with a role to play in the development of a collective identity. This collective identity was seen as important in advocacy and in helping to shape policy. The paper closes with proposed future directions for the network and its emerging mission statement.

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