Community Engagement

Music Therapy and Music Communication Placements

The Music Therapy and Music Communication students have worked in a variety of community placements over the last 5 years. This has been an integral part of both programs and showcases important work that students at the University of Pretoria are involved in.

The Aweh-ness Workshop

By: Verity, Cynthia, and Bare (Music Communication)

The Aweh-ness workshop was a litter campaign facilitated as a part of a community music project for the Music Communication Honours course. The main goal of the workshop was to create awareness about litter and the environment using the arts and music as a medium. The program consisted of activities such as creating instruments out of waste materials, sonic sketches to envision a world without litter, lyric and song-writing as well as creating a music video for the songs that were recorded by the participants. The workshops took place at the Mamelodi campus of the University of Pretoria with participants from the Pre-University Academy in Grades 8 and 9 as a part of the arts club.

Hope House

By: Melissa McWalter (Music Therapy)

Hope House is a counselling centre with rooms in Bergvliet, Kuilsriver and Blaauwberg - suburbs of Cape Town. They offer counselling, school addictions prevention programmes and courses and training for counsellors.

Their approach is person-centred. Though they are a Christian organisation they approach counselling in a purely secular way.

Their mission statement is: Inspired by the love of God, Hope House founders set off to offer hope to hurting people through Biblical care and counselling. Their mission is to equip people to withstand the pressure they face in trauma, loss and in the practical demands of daily life.

Hope House offers counselling to individuals who are grieving a loss, going through divorce or addiction. They offer couples and family counselling. Hope House works extensively with adolescents and children, so they focus on play therapy.

Clients who come to Hope House are asked to pay a donation of R100 per week.

The Potter’s House

By: Bea Fourie (Music Communication)

The Potter’s house (TPH) is located in Tshwane on a vibrant inner-city office block. It is a shelter for women with their children, who are affected by homelessness and is one of several projects overseen by the Tshwane Leadership Foundation. I conducted 12 music engagement sessions over a period of six weeks with residents, staff members and children, presenting a combination of productive, receptive, and reproductive activities. Following a participant-centred approach, I created a client-centred program with ample opportunity for reflection so that participants could voice their opinions and preferences throughout the sessions. The adult participants voiced their need for relaxing listening activities, while the children were excited irrespective of what I pulled from my music bag. The group of nine children took part in a variety of activities including an instrument-making workshop; a demonstration where I played various wind and string instruments; singing; and drumming. We ended the last session with a brass and drum march on the grounds of the shelter. The main activity for both groups was a songwriting process. The pilot study I did at TPH was an enriching experience and I am looking forward to continuing volunteering there in the future.

SANCA Pretoria

By: Nsamu Moonga (Music Therapy)

Between July and November 2018, as part of my music therapy in a community context, I worked at SANCA (South African National Council On Alcoholism And Drug Dependence), Pretoria Society. The National body was established in 1956, with its primary concern being the prevention, treatment and aftercare of alcoholism and drug dependence. Today there are 32 SANCA Societies in most larger centres around the country – at least one in all nine provinces. Each Society is autonomous, although it is affiliated with the National Council based in Johannesburg. SANCA Pretoria/Soshanguve is the SANCA Society that operates in Pretoria, Soshanguve and surrounding areas and consists of three clinics: Castle Carey Clinic, Lapalamé Youth Drug Unit and Soshanguve Out-patient Clinic. I spent all the time working out of Castle Carey Clinic, where I facilitated alternative therapy sessions for residents. My time at the clinic exposed me to the actual cost of alcohol and drug addiction and dependence on people's lives. I believe that the nonthreatening approach in music therapy allows people living with addiction to encounter themselves with compassion and determination.

Community Music in Aggeneys

By: Verity (Music Communication)

Midway between Pofadder and Springbok in the Namaqualand district of the Northern Cape, is the tiny mining town of Aggeneys. It was here in January 2021 that BA (Honours) Music candidate Verity Knight went to teach English, Travel & Tourism and EMS in a Cambridge school. There are many teenagers in this remote town, but no active music groups catering for their interests. Through the community placement project, Verity introduced the teenagers to bucket drumming and established a vocal ensemble. Despite lockdown restrictions, they were enthusiastic and made decent progress developing their own drumming grooves, choreographing their movements, and learning songs. Members of the group have asked if they can resume rehearsals from January 2022 – and it seems that these music groups will continue for the foreseeable future.

uThixo uLungile Pre-school

By: Caitlin Schulze (Music Therapy)

uThixo uLungile is a small pre-school situated on the Stoney Drift dumpsite in East London. Founded under Global Mercy Missions by a missionary couple in 2014, the school provides childcare and pre-school education for children up the age of 7 or 8. Most of the children live with their families on the dumpsite, while the staff consist of workers from the community as well as outside volunteers. Apart from their education programme, the school provides a soup kitchen and vegetable garden, which cater to the broader community. During my clinical internship (2016-2017), I worked with groups and individuals at the school, addressing challenges stemming from adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse, neglect, and community violence. Music therapy helped to develop the children’s ability to express and process emotions, cultivate creativity and strong group identity, and address negative experiences in a safe environment.

Beauty for Ashes

By: Danni McKinnon (Music Therapy)

Beauty for Ashes works in partnership with the Department of Correctional Services by running two halfway houses in Observatory, Cape Town. The halfway houses help and assist women with the challenges of re-entering society after prison by, providing education and training to procure meaningful work, addressing emotional, psychological, and physical needs, and negotiating family reunification in order to prevent a return to crime. Beauty for Ashes’ mission is to assist women prisoners & ex-prisoners to realize their true potential and dignity on return to the community through the discipline of caring relationships, and programs of renewal. During my final year of the Music Therapy program, I worked with a group of women weekly. The goals for the group included, self-expression, stress relief, and exploring resilience and identity. Through our group process over a period of 13 weeks, we also organised a Showcase of Talent in the community church hall, where the group participated to raise awareness in the community as well as raise funds for the organisation.




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