“My Tune“ was a participatory research project in the field of music therapy (MT), which was carried out at the WZMF* and funded by the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft GmbH in the frame of the “Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement in Research 2021” call. From March 2022 to April 2023, the “My Tune” research team consisting of (i) WZMF researchers Julia Fent & Irene Stepniczka, (ii) the co-lead team (steering committee: two young adult service users, one caregiver, two music therapists), and (iii) the co-creation team (three young adult service users, four music therapists) developed a MT assistive reflection tool for young adult service users, namely the “My Tune” tool.
The “My Tune” tool set comprises a short information for service users, a handbook for music therapists, and two parts of structured action: (i) Part I is an interactive module for service users and music therapists that stimulates the service users‘ reflections on their MT processes in a creative as well as structured manner: Starting off from a memorable situation in their MT, service users are invited to make this memory more present by musically improvising, drawing, or bodily performing on the situation. The service users can then work on the situation of choice along pre-formulated question and answer cards together with the therapist. The answer cards also include an option for a free formulated reply. As such, Part I of the tool not only provokes personal reflection about topics that might not have been in focus before but also encourages the interaction between the service users and their music therapist. (ii) Part II of the tool consists of a set of cards posing questions for reflection for the service users that is processed on their own and addresses the role of music in the service users’ lives, their experiences in their music therapy, and the impact of their music therapy on their everyday lives. Accompanying, if wanted, the service users may e.g., take notes in a diary, make drawings, etc. to preserve their thoughts and feelings and share them with their therapist. This way, the “My Tune” tool empowers the service users by letting them decide if, when, where, what, how, and to what extent the tool is being used.
Besides the developed and tested “My Tune” tool the project also brought diverse and valuable insights into participatory research practice in the field of music therapy that will feed into future projects and research as well.
*WZMF – Music Therapy Research Centre Vienna, Department of Music Therapy, mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Fent, J. & Stepniczka, I. (2022). My Tune – „Musiktherapie aus unseren Perspektiven“. Musiktherapeutische Umschau, 43(3), 258–260.
Fent, J. & Stepniczka, I. (2023). Participatory research in music therapy: Potentials and challenges in “My Tune”. Music Therapy Today, Special Issue: Proceedings of the 17th World Congress of Music Therapy, 18(1), 317–318.
Stepniczka, I. & Fent, J. (2023). “My Tune” – music therapy evaluation from a novel perspective. Music Therapy Today, Special Issue: Proceedings of the 17th World Congress of Music Therapy, 18(1), 325–326.
Stepniczka, I. & Fent, J. (in review). “My Tune: Music Therapy from OUR Perspectives”. PoS ACSC2023.