Today's Big Stories

'Modern formats of music therapy could see positive change in our young people'

Young people have occupied a central position in current debates on crime and violence in South Africa.

Although a song many not solve all the problems faced by the youth of the country, Dr Molefi Dinga Mathe says his work using contemporary music to treat conduct disorder has yielded encouraging results.

Listen to the full conversation from the Redi Tlhabi Show:

Music therapy is defined as the use of sounds and music within evolving relationships to support and encourage physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.

(Also read our article: Gangster turned entrepreneur and coder Sihle Tshabalala on making social change)

Mathe, a practicing psychiatrist, part-time deejay and music producer, explores the changing role of music therapy in the in rehabilitating juvenile offenders and vulnerable youth.

Music therapy has previously been used as a change agent, but never as a primary measure to alleviate ills. The children of today are into music and all its formats; they are positively encouraged by investing in that interest.

Dr Molefi Dinga Mathe, psychiatrist and music producer

He says he has noted several case studies where music has improved the sense of purpose and self worth for young people.

According to Mathe, music therapists could benefit from adapting the traditional format of their practice in order to stay relevant to young people and patients today.

We need to ask: what will capture the youth, their imagination and their passion? We need to sustain the engagement and make sure the tools we use can measure the change towards positive behaviour.

Dr Molefi Dinga Mathe, psychiatrist and music producer

Mathe's current research focuses on the range and potential impact of music making with young offenders and young people at risk of offending or re-offending.

Below are some of the listeners' views on the matter:


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