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December 2021

Music therapy improvisation groups with adults: towards de-stressing in South Africa

Journal/Book: S Afr J Psychol. 1999; 29: P O Box 1758, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. Bureau Scientific Publ. 94-99.

Abstract: Rather than being a 'purely' musical event, improvisation in music therapy is non-verbal communication; Music therapy improvisation elicits, portrays and extends clients' expressive, communicative and relational capacities. The act of improvising music in a group setting is experienced positively by group members. Theoretically. Music therapy improvisation draws from psychological literature that demonstrates the innate musicality of non-verbal behaviour, as well as from Winnicott's concept of Play and of Primary Creativity. Research studies in the USA have demonstrated the efficacy of passive music therapy in alleviating stress in a range of adult populations. This paper draws from the author's clinical work to present four aspects of group music therapy: work that is experienced as personally and professionally enriching by high-functioning adult South Africans. Despite the complications of using verbally-based concepts and thinking to describe and explain musical events, a case is made for group music therapy's potential to alleviate stress in South Africa across cultures at this time of social transformation.

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Keyword(s): ARTS

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