Celebrating 15 years of music therapy training at UP

Posted on August 21, 2014

On Saturday 16 August the Music Therapy Unit of the Department of Music hosted a vibrant celebration to showcase the work of current students, past graduates and staff members. This event was held to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Music Therapy training at the University of Pretoria. The UP MMus (Music Therapy) training programme is the only master’s training programme of its kind on the African continent.

Graduates of this programme register with the HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa).

Music therapy interventions with a wide range of client groups were presented. Sherri Symons, a past student, works as a music therapist at the UNICA school for children with autism. A group of children with whom she works at the school performed two musical pieces demonstrating their confident musical ability. 

Sunelle Fouche, another graduate of the UP Music Therapy programme, presented the transformative work that is being done by MusicWorks, a non-profit organisation that uses music to unlock the potential of children and communities in Cape Town’s marginalised neighbourhoods. During her training at UP, music therapist Tanya Brown worked with a ‘conversation group’ for individuals with aphasia. She discussed the role that music therapy played in journeying with these clients. Marie-Victoire Cumming presented her work at Little Eden, a residential home for people with mental and physical disabilities. She was placed there for her internship and now works at Little Eden as a music therapist. Marie-Victoire explained the key communicative role that music therapy can play in building relationships with clients with disabilities.

Mercedes Pavlicevic and Kobie Swart developed and initiated the Music Therapy training programme at the University of Pretoria in 1999. Mercedes, who is now based at the Nordoff Robbins Centre in London, still contributes to the course as a guest lecturer, and Kobie Swart remains a lecturer and supervisor within the programme. Mercedes gave a presentation on international perspectives on music therapy and Kobie described her work within a specialised form of music psychotherapy, namely guided imagery and music.

Saturday’s festivities were punctuated by performances by the Pretoria Technical High School’s African percussion ensemble led by Julius Kyakuwa and by Freeborn, an exceptional jazz band consisting of children whose ages range between eight and eleven years. Karen de Kock, a music therapist who graduated from UP, led the audience in a playful vocal activity.

This event provided an opportunity for music therapists in South Africa to get together and share their work with others. The audience was both moved and inspired.

Music therapy is a growing profession in South Africa and worldwide. Students who have trained in this field at the University of Pretoria are now practicing in diverse contexts and are making a difference to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in South Africa and beyond.

Graduates and lecturers of MMus (Music Therapy) celebrated 15 years of music therapy training 
at the University of Pretoria

Learners of Pretoria Technical High School performing

The 2014 student group of MMus (Music Therapy) with lecturers

Language Editor: Language Unit 

- Author Andeline dos Santos & Carol Lotter

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences