This research study explored the impact of group music therapy at a school for intellectually impaired learners in Namibia. The research project generated qualitative data through individual interviews of two teachers at a school for intellectually impaired learners. Interviews were conducted with each teacher before and after participating in ten group music therapy sessions with their learners. The data was compared and discussed in terms of the teachers’ experience of the impact of group music therapy on (i) their perceptions of their learners and how this influenced their teaching approach, and (ii) their perception of music therapy as a profession. Results generated from the interviews indicated that, through participation in music therapy sessions, learners experienced and explored their individual capabilities through the medium of music. Teachers observed their learners’ potential in new areas and in this way obtained a more holistic view of their learners. As a result of noting learners’ diverse abilities, teachers also adapted their teaching approaches to work in a more learner-centred way. This complemented their classroom approach based on the Namibian educational policy of learner-centred education in which learners’ individual competencies are to be developed, requiring teachers’ sensitivity towards their learners’ needs and abilities. Findings of this study further indicated a more in-depth understanding of music therapy as an intervention by the teachers after participating in sessions with their learners. This suggests that first-hand experience provides an effective way of understanding the music therapy profession and the possibilities that it may hold in a special school for intellectually impaired learners. Findings further highlighted some challenges that may need to be overcome when implementing a music therapy programme in a special school. Copyright
Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2012.