Voices from the ‘ghetto’: Music therapy perspectives on disability and music (A response to Joseph Straus’s book Extraordinary Measures: Disability in Music) | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1752-6299
  • E-ISSN: 1752-6302



In 2011 Joseph Straus published the book Extraordinary Measures: Disability in Music. Adopting a sociocultural approach, Straus explores the relationship between disability and music by focusing on how music not only reflects, but also constructs different disability narratives. After providing an overview of the book content and themes, this article focuses on what I perceive as being Straus’s misunderstood guest, that is, music therapy. Writing from my own perspective as a music therapy practitioner-researcher, and in relation to Straus’s characterization of music therapy as a ‘ghetto’, I respond to certain ideas developed in the book and offer some different perspectives regarding music therapy as well as its contribution to the study of disability in music. These perspectives are drawn from practices and theories emerging from music- and culture-centred, as well as resource-oriented and community approaches to music therapy. This response article aims to instigate interdisciplinary exchange and dialogue between different music-related disciplines within the wider field of disability studies.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): dialogue; disability; music; music therapy; narratives; Straus
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