This article presents a broad discussion of power and influence within contemporary participatory music practices in relation to practices of intervention. The discussion is presented through the respective experience and professional perspectives of music therapy, music education and community music – each illustrated by current practice examples and their accompanying dilemmas; and covering both local and international projects. In a shared closing discussion, the four authors review the key question: whether professional influence and power in participatory music practices ‘shows the way’ or ‘gets in the way’. They conclude that intervention takes place on a continuum, in different ways, and to different degrees and levels. What is vital is to retain practical and ethical reflexivity on the dimensions of intervention as a practice that can offer both creative opportunities, but which can also be part of subtly oppressive power relationships.
- community music
- music education
- music therapy
- participatory music practices