Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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What Is the Role of A Student Music Therapist in a Community Music Setting?

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posted on 2021-11-15, 13:27 authored by Pagad, Sidharth

This qualitative research project set out to explore my role as a student music therapist within a community music setting. I am a student music therapist, working with a community music company involved in a variety of community music groups and projects. I wanted to understand what I might offer the community music company by bringing a community music therapy perspective to the work.  The research involved an exploration into the literature relating to Community Music Therapy as well as Community Music and required me to regularly question the reasoning and philosophy behind Community Music Work. To answer my question I engaged in secondary analysis of data generated during the first 24 weeks at this community music placement. The data included session notes, audio recordings of supervision sessions, and my reflective journal.  The literature includes examples of collaboration between community music therapists and community musicians, and I sought to experience this at my placement. The hoped for collaboration did take place during the period of data collection, enabling detailed reflections of it. This exploration therefore helped me to develop as a community musician and music therapy student.  The practice was broad and involved regular transitions in role, often within the same session. These included participant, accompanist, song-leader, community music therapist, and drum circle facilitator. Findings suggest that Community Music and Community Music Therapy are disciplines with many similarities in appearance and structure, but tend to diverge when looking at goals and overall objectives and foci.  Social equality seems to be commonly shared value between Community Music and Community Music Therapy. The ways in which this value is acted upon is also explored.  Performance and Performativity as aspects of group behaviour was found to be mentioned in the literature, and again this was mentioned in the data collected as part of the researcher’s placement.


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

970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music


Rickson, Daphne