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Music Therapy Conversations

Nov 22, 2022

“We’re doing music therapy because of people’s humanity, not because of what people lack”

Luke spoke to Hakeem Leonard at the EMTC conference, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, in June 2022.

Hakeem Leonard is an Associate Professor of Music Therapy and the Assistant Provost for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia (United States). In his music therapy role, he has taught a range of courses, but most enjoys his social justice in music/arts and psychology of music courses, where the nexus of his current research focus lies in developing a desire-based, lifespan developmental framework to shape education, training, and personhood in and beyond music therapy. His published scholarship includes rehabilitation work as well as work rooted in anti-racist and culturally sustaining perspectives. Those include the article “The Problematic Conflation of Justice and Equality: The Case for Equity in Music Therapy” and his most recent co-authored chapter in the new Colonialism and Music Therapy text. 

He has a passion for walking alongside students in their developmental growth process as culturally reflexive, confident, whole persons, with excellent music therapy knowledge and skills. He likes to stay grounded through various practices of listening and to experience joy through rest, creating things, and vibing with experiences and people. He is invested in conversations of anti-colonial and anti-oppressive practice from a place of intuition, desire, sustenance, love, wholeness, and relationship. 

He is active on Instagram (@musicallman) where he shares about life, music therapy, and inclusion. 


Devlin, K. (2018). How do I see you, and what does that mean for us? An autoethnographic study. Music Therapy Perspectives36(2), 234-242.

Dissanayake, E. (1993). Homo aestheticus: Where art comes from and why. University of Washington Press.

Du Bois, W. E. B. (1903). The souls of black folk. Chicago: McClurg.

Fisher, C. & Leonard, H. (2022). Unsettling the classroom and the session: Anticolonial framing for Hip hop music therapy education and clinical work. In CAMTI Collective, Colonialism and music therapy (p. 305-334). Barcelona Publishers.

Kenny, C. (2014, March). The field of play: An ecology of being in music therapy. In Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 14(1).

The Colonialism, & Music Therapy Interlocutor’s (CAMTI) Collective. (2022). Colonialism and Music Therapy. Barcelona Publishers.

Trondalen, G. (2016). Relational music therapy: An intersubjective perspective. Barcelona Publishers.

Persons Referenced

Clifford K. Madsen

Jayne Standley

Tom Sweitzer