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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Lamont School of Music, Composition, Musicology and Ethnomusicology


Orchestra, Mental illness, Support, Community music initiatives


The Me2/ Orchestra is a Boston-based community orchestra for people living with mental illness and those who support them. Me2/’s mission, according to its website, is “to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness (including addiction) through supportive classical music rehearsals and inspiring performances.” In order to investigate the methods and practices used by Me2/ to fulfill this mission, this annotated bibliography compiles important literature on community music initiatives with social projects. Concepts of “participation” and “performance” are explored, as well as problems posed by research into the effectiveness of arts programs. In addition, the distinction is made between amateur music-making and its general positive effect on mental health and wellbeing, and professional music-making, which is often accompanied by higher rates of mental illness. Across the diverse sources presented here, emergent themes include identity formation and transformation, and musical space as a temporary but powerful site of social change. Hopefully, by situating Me2/ within a body of community music research, this paper provides a basis for understanding the organization’s musical practices and social impact.

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