This study focuses on the social interactions that occur during group music therapy between children who have mental and physical handicaps and the music therapist. It also examines the interactions that occur in a daily institutional family context between children who have mental and physical handicaps and their adult group leader. The aim is to investigate what role music therapy might play within an institutional family with persons who have diverse disabilities and how music therapy could adapt to become more relevant for the institutional context. This study examines the parallels between interactions in group music therapy and in the daily institutional family context. The setting for this study is at Little Eden, which is a residential home for children and adults who have profound mental and physical handicaps. A qualitative research perspective is adopted for this study and it is based on two data sources involving video footage: descriptions of a musical activity in a group music therapy session with three children from Little Eden and descriptions of interactions that take place in the daily institutional environment at Little Eden. This study does not seek to ‘prove’ that parallels exist, but to describe and understand the ways in which meaningful moments of interaction in group music therapy parallel meaningful interaction between disabled members in an institutional family. The findings of this study show that group music therapy does not need to adapt but could offer a more qualitative mode of interacting that possibly Little Eden or other institutions would like to see more of. This study also highlighted some differences and similarities in interactions between disabled children in group music therapy and in the daily institutional context.
Dissertation (MMus (Music Therapy))--University of Pretoria, 2006.