The use of music therapy strategies to enhance the general milieu in a rehabilitation centre : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music Therapy at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
This research focused on how music therapy strategies could be used to improve the milieu in a rehabilitation centre in a New Zealand city. Residents in the rehabilitation centre had difficulty interacting with each other. I planned to use a Community Music Therapy approach to address residents' social needs. The research methodology was Action Research which involves the study of one‟s own practice. Cycles of learning led to the introduction of more 'open' groups and the use of the 'sharing concert' as a vehicle for promoting interaction between residents, staff, and family members, and staff and children at an early childhood centre. I examined the group dynamics, encouraged residents to move from small groups to bigger group or even open groups, and began to challenge them to take responsibility for individual tasks for their own and others' benefit. Through interactive music making, the residents improved understanding about conversation courtesy; their motivation for active participation increased as they developed a sense of togetherness, and appreciation for their community. They enjoyed interacting with the wider community also, and had the wish to 'branch out'. Further, the action research changed my understanding and leadership style: I learnt to gradually move from an aesthetic focus and into a supportive role as residents prepared for 'their own concert'.