Historic hosting of world congress should be music to South African ears

Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Rene Nassen, singer and songwriter Carlos Djedje and University of Pretoria's lecturer in music therapy Dr Carol Lotter.
Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Rene Nassen, singer and songwriter Carlos Djedje and University of Pretoria's lecturer in music therapy Dr Carol Lotter.

South Africans will get to experience the 16th World Congress of Music Therapy  next year, which will be hosted in Africa  for the first time. The congress will take place from July 7- 11 at the University of Pretoria.

It will be hosted in partnership with the World Federation of Music Therapy, South African Music Therapy Association, MusicWorks, Tshwane School of Music, City of Tshwane and Gauteng Tourism.

Music therapy lecturer Carol Lotter said this method of healing uses music across the board, from the very beginning of life to late-stage dementia to address clients' emotional, physical and social needs.

“The clinical use of music is based on assessment, through which goals are formulated for individualised treatment plans. Music is employed in a variety of ways to address client needs. Also, making music with clients offers alternative ways of communication, self-expression, emotional regulation and social interaction,” Lotter said.

She said areas of music therapy practice include intellectual and physical difficulties, child and adult mental health, autism, oncology geriatrics and community music therapy.

Lotter said the congress, which will draw music and arts therapists as well as academics and health professionals from across the world, will showcase international and African offerings in music therapy.

“It will focus on topics including community music therapy, technological advances in music therapy, diversity and decolonisation, as well as presenting work from a range of clinical settings,” Lotter said.

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