Music, Violence and Music Therapy with Young People in Schools: A Position Paper


  • Katrina Skewes McFerran The University of Melbourne AUSTRALIA
  • Andreas Wölfl Freies Musikzentrum, Institut Musiktherapie - München



Music, music therapy, violence, aggression


Music therapists have rarely involved themselves in the discourse linking music and violence.  Instead, representatives of the profession have advocated for the positive outcomes that can result from the use of music by trained therapists working with people who have experienced violence or been violent.  In this position paper, we will elaborate a much-needed position that first acknowledges the ways that music can promote violence, and then focuses on different ways to work with young people involved in violence.  The position paper is structured around the examination of three types of music therapy programs and our purpose is to bring to light the beliefs that underpin each program, both the viewpoints about the cause of violence, and assumptions about how potentially negative relationships between young people and music can be made positive.  We conclude by describing different methods for evaluating such programs that are congruent with the assumptions that underpin them.  It is hoped that the positions we delineate will support music therapists and others to be more conscious of the relationship between music and violence when designing programs for young people.

Author Biographies

Katrina Skewes McFerran, The University of Melbourne AUSTRALIA

Prof Katrina McFerran is Head of Music Therapy at the University of Melbourne in Australia.  She is Co-Director (with Felicity Baker) of the National Music Therapy Research Unit, and Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of the VCA&MCM.

Andreas Wölfl, Freies Musikzentrum, Institut Musiktherapie - München

Andreas Wölfl, Dr. phil., Music Therapist, Psychotherapist for Children and Adolescents, Supervisor. Music therapist in a hospital for child and adolescent psychiatry since 1989. Practice for supervision, coaching and music therapy since 1999. Lecturer in different music therapeutic and psychotherapeutic trainings. Wölfl is Head of the music therapy training BWM and the workgroup "prevention" at the Institut of Music Therapy at the Freies-Musikzentrum München e.V.




How to Cite

McFerran, K. S., & Wölfl, A. (2015). Music, Violence and Music Therapy with Young People in Schools: A Position Paper. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 15(2).



Position Papers