Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Community Music Therapy: A Pathway to a Sense of Belonging in a School Environment

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posted on 2021-11-13, 21:09 authored by Davidson, Gary

This research investigated the intersection between a student's work in a special school, where one of the primary aims was to develop students' sense of belonging, and Community Music Therapy (CoMT). A sense of belonging was understood to be a feeling of safety and comfort that engenders a willingness to engage with the environment and the people within that environment. Narratives of work with two students in the school have been analysed to uncover themes relating to CoMT, especially with regard to 'belonging'.  Secondary analysis of the data was used in conjunction with a narrative enquiry. Data was collected using clinical music therapy notes; school documentation; Individual Education Plans; notes on group observations; notes on discussions with teachers support staff, parents and care givers; and video recordings. The music therapy student's experiences with each of the two students were described in narrative form, separately, and in chronological order to preserve meaning. The stories were then written again (restoried) in relation to the characteristics of CoMT.  The findings suggested that in both cases, students displayed a greater willingness to take part in the organised and informal communal musicing that took place within various contexts of the school. It also showed that the student music therapist resourced the participants on a relational level, resourced their personal strengths and enabled them to access the wider community resources.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Music Therapy

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Music Therapy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

950101 Music

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music


Rickson, Daphne