Volume 15 (1) 2023 – Article (first published on 14 April 2021)
Can music therapy and community music co-exist in a community-based music service? A qualitative inquiry into reflections and perceptions from professionals in the field
Fabian Joyce & Hilary Moss
This study contributes to the current discourse on music for health and wellbeing by exploring how music therapy and community music are delivered within a community-based music service. The paper takes Moss’ (2016) continuum of music and health practice as a starting point, aiming to illuminate the benefits and issues involved in integrating music therapy and community music within one community music programme. This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews with three participants (a music therapist, a community musician, and a dual practitioner), all practicing in various community contexts in Ireland. Van Manen’s (1990) hermeneutic phenomenology method was followed for the analysis of the data. Findings suggest recurring themes, which resonate with the existing literature. These include: a disparity in awareness and perception regarding the role of the two professions; a need for clear professional identity and roles for various music and health professionals; and an enhanced understanding of boundaries with regard to working territory. Despite this, there is a desire for increased collaboration between the two professions and potential to design a pathway between the distinct expertise of music therapy, community music and indeed music education, to meet the needs of service users in community music education services. Recommendations are made regarding collaboration and parallel working to better meet the needs of service users. A gatekeeper is important to manage referrals and communication is needed to ensure service users gain the appropriate intervention at the right time. This paper offers reflection and practical solutions to enhance practice in community contexts.
music therapy, community music
Fabian Joyce graduated from a music therapy MA at the University of Limerick in 2020. He has worked as a music therapist with people with learning disabilities, autism, brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases. Fabian is co-founder of Anam Music Therapy, a community-based music therapy organisation in Ireland. [email@example.com]
Hilary Moss is Senior Lecturer in Music Therapy at the University of Limerick and member of the Health Research Institute. [firstname.lastname@example.org]