Fairchild and Mraz

”Everything Changed When I Got Those Drums”: A Collaborative Case Reflection

Rebecca Fairchild, Malakai Mraz


Children accompanying their families through the family violence system are often described through the lens of risk. In contrast, there are minimal narratives that describe the interplay between how children’s existing resources can be enriched through engagement in therapeutic programs. This article describes a collaborative case reflection exploring the experiences and actions of a music therapist (Rebecca Fairchild) and an 11-year-old boy (‘Malakai Mraz’) who was accompanying his mother through the family violence system. Following involvement in short term music therapy, Malakai expressed how receiving a drum machine and learning to play the drums had changed his life. We decided to collaborate in writing this article together to describe our personal reflections about the various stages of our engagement in music therapy together and to explore the range of conditions and resources at play that contributed to Malakai’s growth and development. We will also share a song that was written as part of the collaborative process as a way of providing an arts-based and child-centred representation of our experiences. Critical considerations for writing collaboratively in this way with participants in therapeutic programs will also be discussed.


child welfare; collaboration; music therapy; family violence; resources

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15845/voices.v18i1.957


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