'I am not at home with my client's music. I felt guilty about disliking it': On 'musical authenticity' in music therapy

Nechama Yehuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


'Musical authenticity,' i.e. the professional musician's motivation to identify music for which there is a feeling of emotional belonging and deep mental affinity, was the core category in my study on music therapy in a multicultural setting. Two groups of subjects were interviewed: six musicians who were exposed to diverse musical cultures at various stages of their life, and six music therapists who worked with clients born and raised in cultures different from their own. The methodological design of this study is qualitative, both with respect to data collection and analysis. The research procedure utilized the 'open ethnographic interview' (Spardley, 1979). The variables of interest in the study were analyzed following 'Grounded theory' (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Amir, 2005). The therapists also related to the importance of the 'authentic' experience for themselves, but it seems that the therapeutic task in a multicultural encounter is composed of two apparently contradictory motives: coming closer to the client's music while avoiding losing a sense of authenticity for the therapist. As the results show, this mission is often impossible and the therapist is left torn between these two motives. The following is a discussion on the concept of 'authenticity' as it relates to music therapists treating clients of different and/or foreign musical cultures. An understanding of the concept may shed light on this complex situation and be valuable in suggesting coping methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-170
Number of pages22
JournalNordic Journal of Music Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • authenticity
  • culture
  • intersubjectivity
  • multiculturalism
  • music therapy


Dive into the research topics of ''I am not at home with my client's music. I felt guilty about disliking it': On 'musical authenticity' in music therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this