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What is Music Therapy

Music Therapy is an established Health Care profession registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa which uses clinically informed musical interventions to address physical, emotional, cognitive, communicative, social and spiritual needs. Music Therapy is a form of intervention applicable to all age groups with no previous musical experience needed. It is the use of music to help clients make changes in their lives so as to adjust better and overcome obstacles.

Music therapists together with people of all ages and stages of life negotiate, develop and sustain a therapeutic relationship through music.  It is this therapeutic relationship which allows the client to feel safe in their music making; creating, listening, expressing and meeting in music. It does not require any music knowledge but rather sits in the client-therapist relationship and meeting in the music through the use of improvisation, singing, songwriting, music listening, creative processes and relaxation. Music Therapy is a holistic approach looking at the individual, or group, their community and context.

Music Therapy is applicable to many diagnoses and clientele:

  • Autism

  • Special Needs

  • Cerebral Palsy

  • Developmental Delay

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Alzheimer's and Dementia

  • Rehabilitation

  • Speech Difficulties

  • Learning Challenges

  • Couples Counseling

  • Grief

  • Mental Illness

  • Divorce

  • Behavioural Difficulties

  • Stress

  • Emotion Regulation


Stress is a prevalent area at the moment given the increased challenges many of us are experiencing due to the global pandemic. If you are feeling stressed and unable to find an appropriate outlet, music therapy is a unique and evidence-based approach that has proven successful for many.


Music strengthens the immune system and reduces stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Listening to music can provide a calming and mindful experience. Singing, writing music, and playing an instrument provides an important outlet to those who are in need of creative expression, as creating rhythm and keeping a beat has shown positive benefits by increasing relaxation, providing an emotional release, and reducing loneliness.

Kirstyn Botha - Founder and Music Therapist

Having discovered music therapy while in high school, I knew that this was where my passion lay. At age 15, I shadowed a music therapist from the Music Therapy Community Clinic (now MusicWorks) and my passion grew.


In 2015, during my final year of undergraduate studies, I was accepted for an internship at MusicWorks working at Sarah Fox Children's hospital, as well as the personal assistant to the then Director, Sunelle Fouche. This gave me the knowledge, understanding and first-hand experience of what music therapy is and how it works. It ignited my passion for paediatrics and working in palliative care.

Once I received my undergraduate degree in Music, with a minor in Psychology, from the University of Cape Town, I pursued a Master's in Music Therapy from the University of Pretoria graduating in 2018.


During my Master's Degree, I had the freedom to explore what kind of music therapist I wanted to be, and it became clear that my passion lay in special needs: autism, cerebral palsy and intellectual disability.

Now in my practice, I provide music therapy to a range of clientele from adults to children using an integrative and holistic approach.

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