English An Assessment of Indigenous Knowledge of Music Therapy in Nigeria


  • Professor Charles Onomudo Aluede Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2701-5419
  • Dr. Arugha A. Ogisi Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria
  • Dr. Fatelyn I. Okakah Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, Nigeria




music therapy; indigenous knowledge; healing; illness


Indigenous knowledge of music as therapy as it is understood in Nigeria has to do with the acquisition of information about the application of music for healing in traditional settings. There is no doubt that the use of music to educate, rehabilitate, and bring about healing in Nigerian indigenous societies is an age-long tradition. A survey of traditional music which was carried out through questionnaire and interview methods allude to the fact that most Nigerian cultures firmly believe in the therapeutic potency of music. From the perspectives of some selected Nigerian traditional communities (Esan, Urhobo, Itsekiri, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Bini, and others) this study, therefore, reveals the various forms of manifestations of music healing traditions in different Nigerian communities. Potent as music may be in healing, if the indigenous must beget the modern, there remains a growing need to examine the indigenous understanding of music therapy. As a major aim of this study, we examined the Nigerian construct of illness; illness causation; and how Nigerian people understand music healing and its associated healing techniques. While this work reveals that music in therapy in Nigerian traditional societies has been in use over the ages, regrettably few incidences have been captured in literature. This suggests that this very important branch of music should be introduced into tertiary institutions as an academic field that should embrace cultural and clinical approaches.

Author Biographies

Professor Charles Onomudo Aluede, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria

Charles Aluede is a Professor of Music (Ethnomusicology and Music Therapy) at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria. He is a Performer and African music expert with emphasis on African Indigenous Knowledge Systems. He is the founder of Centre for Studies in Esan Music, a privately sponsored initiative aimed at the preservation of Esan musical mores and  currently the Chief Editor of the Journal of the Association of Nigerian Musicologists (JANIM). ORCID: 0000-0002-2701-5419

Dr. Arugha A. Ogisi , Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria

Dr. Arugha A. Ogisi is of the Department of Music in Delta State University Abraka, Nigeria. He is an accomplished composer, music educator and ethnomusicologist and has trained quite a number of Nigerian musicologists including the lead author of this paper. Dr. Ogisi is well published in notable journals at the national and international level.

Dr. Fatelyn I. Okakah, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, Nigeria

Dr. Fatelyn Okakah is a physician in the Department of Community Medicine, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State-Nigeria. As a practising medical doctor and researcher, her interest is in geriatrics and welfare of the elderly. She has carried out a capstone research on elder abuse in Edo State of Nigeria.

Photo of the three authors Aluede, Ogisi and Okakah




How to Cite

Aluede, C. O., Ogisi , A. A., & Okakah, F. I. (2023). English An Assessment of Indigenous Knowledge of Music Therapy in Nigeria. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.15845/voices.v23i1.3073