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


  • Megan Ellen Steele The University of Melbourne



community music therapy, context-driven, collaborative musicking, music therapy matrix


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.

Author Biography

Megan Ellen Steele, The University of Melbourne

Meg is a current PhD candidate at The University of Melbourne researching the role of tailored school arts programs in developing teacher pedagogy around the use of arts-based, creative methods.She holds a Masters in Special Education, Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education and Bachelor in Music Therapy.In addition to conducting research, Meg lectures in the School of Education at Victoria University and teaches Kundalini Yoga.




How to Cite

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