Viega, M. (2017). From Orphan to Sage: The Hero’s Journey as an Assessment Tool for Hip Hop Songs Created in Music Therapy. Journal of Genius and Eminence, 2(2), 78-87. http://dx.doi.org/10.18536/jge.2017.02.2.2.08

The purpose of this article is to detail how Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, the hero’s journey, and Carol Pearson’s archetypical stages of human development have inspired an interpretive clinical assessment to construct meaning from songs created by adolescents who identify with Hip Hop Culture and who have experienced extreme trauma. The history and creative elements of Hip Hop Culture are rich with mythic narratives that reflect the lived social, cultural, and political experience of communities marginalized and underrepresented, and it especially connects with a global adolescent audience. Adolescence, as a developmental stage of human growth, can be viewed through the lens of a hero’s journey in which a child moves through a stage of liminality to enter into adulthood. This perspective can be particularly useful for music therapists when making meaning of songs created by adolescents who have experienced childhood trauma. Three songs, representing different stages and archetypes along each songwriter’s hero’s journey, will be presented to reveal the trials, clinical goals, fears, and rewards contained within the lyrical and musical components.

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