Supporting staff in their interactions with children who have learning support needs: The role of a student music therapist
This research explores the question “How can a student music therapist support staff in their interactions with learners in a special education setting?” To answer this question secondary analysis of data was used to examine clinical notes that had been collected as part of my music therapy practicum experience at a special education school. The data selected for thematic analysis was collected between March and May 2017, and focused on three groups which were co-facilitated by myself and other school staff. Six main themes emerged; Expanding on Existing Music use; Collaboration; Interaction Styles; Supporting Staff in Music; Staff Witnessing Student in Music; and Expanding on Māori Materials. In addition to this, three sub-themes emerged relating to the use of; Elements of Music; Instruments; and Repertoire. The main themes relate to ecological approaches to music therapy such as community music therapy (Ansdell, 2002) and resource oriented music therapy (Rolvsjord, 2016). They indicate that the student music therapist engaged with a broader approach to music therapy than traditional closed door models of practice. The integrated model of team work in the school was important in creating an environment of fluid knowledge sharing and collaborative approaches. This integrated approach to music therapy work can enrich the culture of the special education context and is in line with Ministry of Education Special Education policy and philosophy (Twyford, 2009).