Volume 9 (1) 2017 – Article (first published on 14 February 2015)
A Community Music Therapy Project’s Journey
Bethan Lee Shrubsole
Since starting the music therapy Community-Based Organisation (CBO) Music for Peaceful Minds (MPM) in July 2008 there have been on-going gradual but significant changes to the way music therapy is practised and spoken about worldwide that has both challenged and informed MPM’s local practice in northern Uganda.
This paper is a personal reflection of MPM’s work over the past seven years with an aim of explaining what it means to work as a music therapist with a community-driven frame of mind when working in places that need a flexibility of approach. How has this work moved away from conventional music therapy (where symptoms and health problems at an individual level are focussed on in a therapeutic space) (Stige 2002)? And how has MPM evolved alongside the music therapy profession’s changes over the years since the emergence of community music therapy?
Keywords: community music projects; Uganda; community music therapy
Bethan Lee Shrubsole set up the Music for Peaceful Minds (MPM) project in northern Uganda in 2008 and has been supervising its therapists since then. From 2011 until 2015 she worked as a music therapist in western Uganda, working with children with autism, Down’s syndrome and hearing impairments in a government school. She now lives in Cambridge with her husband and two sons, working in schools around the county as a music therapist.