Book review: Community Music: A Handbook

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Community Music: A Handbook
Edited by Pete Moser and George McKay
Russell House Publishing
ISBN 1903855705, £25


Although this book is primarily designed to be used in the
running of workshops and participatory music in community sessions,
informal education and street performance, it clearly can have a
much wider usage as a handbook of resources that can be used in
many other contexts, writes Joy

The ring-bound format makes it user-friendly. Each chapter starts
with a poem by Lemn Sissay, setting a tone of creativity. The first
chapter on starting a musical session of any sort is full of
inspiring energetic pictures that show this is not about being a
wonderful musician, but about expression and connected group work.
Ideas are presented as simple and flexible.
The remaining chapters focus more deeply on specific musical themes
(for example, rhythm), illustrated with case studies and numerous
exercises to experiment with.

I would imagine this text could make musical ways of working
accessible to non-musicians and would be a valuable resource for
anyone looking to use non-verbal, creative modes of communication
in their work. Worth taking a risk and trying an experiment or two.
And there’s an excellent resource and reading list (including
websites) at the back.

Joy Gravestock is co-ordinator, CAMHS Adoption Team, Nottingham
and is a violinist

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