How Can Music Build Community? Insight from Theories and Practice of Community Music Therapy


community music therapy
collaborative musicking
music therapy matrix

How to Cite

Steele, M. (2016). How Can Music Build Community? Insight from Theories and Practice of Community Music Therapy. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 16(2).


Community music therapy has emerged as a widespread approach to music therapy practice since the beginning of the twenty-first century. This article outlines its development from an initial reaction against the individualistic consensus model of traditional music therapy practice, towards its current application across diverse, international contexts. Landmark publications and key terminology will be introduced, and the acronym PREPARE (participatory, resource-oriented, ecological, performative, activist, reflective, and ethics driven) (Stige & Aarø, 2011) used as a means of outlining key qualities of community music therapy. The nature of community music therapy as a context-driven and ethical practice that builds on individual and community resources through collaborative musicking will be illustrated through examples from the literature. The emerging influence of matrix theory as a model for processes within community music therapy (Wood, 2016) and future implications for music therapists as they explore work that shifts between individual and social formats and aims are discussed.

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