Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between music lessons and music therapy?

You may not have heard about music therapy before. Music therapy is a relatively young profession in New Zealand, although it is well established in the UK, America and many other countries worldwide. Where music teachers assist students to learn musical skills, music therapists use music as a tool to support their clients’ growth and development. Areas of exploration tend to be non-musical, but might also relate to musical identity.

What training and skills do music therapists have?

Music therapists are skilled musicians who have also trained as health professionals to support a wide range of needs. In New Zealand, Registered Music Therapists (RMTs) hold a Master of Music Therapy degree (from the New Zealand School of Music or an overseas equivalent), are registered with Music Therapy New Zealand and hold a current practising certificate. If you are interested in finding out about how to train as a music therapist, have a look at the Music Therapy New Zealand or NZSM websites.

Where are you based?

The Little Musical Caravan is based in Porirua* and travels to local pre-schools and primary schools to provide music therapy services. I can also travel to homes and other community settings. To set up the caravan, I need a relatively level space to park with access to electricity.

*Please get in touch if you live in the Greater Wellington region or on the Kāpiti coast. Depending on demand, I may be able to offer music therapy in your area.

What is involved?

Music therapy sessions usually last for half an hour and take place weekly at your child’s school or other setting during school hours. Where appropriate I will liaise with your child’s teacher to include peer(s) in sessions. Whilst music making is clearly an important part of sessions, the focus is generally on supporting non-musical areas rather than the acquisition of musical knowledge. Music therapy may be required for only a short time, or for a longer time depending on your child’s needs. Sessions are child-led and follow your child’s interests and strengths.

Do I need a referral?

Referrals are always welcome, but a referral from another health professional or educator is not necessary to access music therapy services. Wherever possible I like to work closely with a child’s wider support team. Your child does not need to have a formal diagnosis or identified learning needs, but if you have this information it would give me useful background information to better understand their needs.

What are assessments and reviews?

Before starting work with your child, I will do a music therapy assessment. This is so that I can get to know your child and their musical preferences, and observe how they interact with me and with others. Usually an assessment involves 3 or 4 child-centred music therapy sessions. I may also include a classroom observation, and at the end of the assessment period I will prepare a written report. We will then decide whether music therapy would be beneficial for your child, whether I am a good match for them, and what areas might be useful to focus on.

Reviews are carried out regularly – on a termly basis or more frequently if necessary. If your child has an IEP or IP, I would like to attend review meetings. This will give me a broader view of your child’s progress and it is very beneficial to integrate music therapy with the goals of the wider team.

At the end of each school year, or when music therapy comes to a planned conclusion, I will produce a further written report outlining progress.

The cost of the initial music therapy assessment is outlined below. Reviews, IEP or IP meetings (in Porirua), end of year and closure reports are included in the price of regular music therapy sessions.

What about cancellations?

Please give as much notice as possible if your child is unable to attend a session. Where less than 48 hours’ notice is given I may charge you for the session. If I am unable to run a session due to conflicting personal or professional commitments or because I am sick, I will give you as much notice as possible and offer a credit for the missed session.

What should I do if my child is sick?

If your child is sick, please keep them at home! The Ministry of Health has guidelines on when to send your child to school, but whilst the risk of COVID-19 remains, the advice is to keep your child at home even with common cold symptoms, such as sore throat, cough or runny nose.

I want to make it as easy as possible for you to cancel your child’s session if they are sick, so please text me directly as soon as you know that your child will be absent. I generally ask for 48 hours’ notice for any cancellation, and this is because I spend time in advance preparing for each session, but if I haven’t started this I won’t charge you.

If your child arrives at school or to a session with symptoms of illness (including coughing and sneezing) I will cancel their session and there will be a charge for this. Similarly, if I get no notice that your child is absent, there will be a charge.

What are your COVID-19 precautions?

Please keep your child at home if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, temporary loss of smell, with or without fever). Likewise, if your child has been in contact with anyone in the last 2 weeks who has respiratory symptoms or fever, or who has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, please do not bring them to music therapy.

Level 1: Use of hand sanitiser on entering and leaving the caravan is encouraged. Commonly touched surfaces and instruments are regularly cleaned and any instrument or item that goes in a child’s mouth is thoroughly washed. Please keep your child at home if they are unwell.

Level 2: If your child’s school or pre-school is comfortable for the Little Musical Caravan to come on site, individual music therapy sessions can continue. Home visits can also go ahead. Where I work directly in a pre-school or school setting (i.e. not inside the caravan) I will do a risk assessment and if necessary discuss alternative venues for music therapy to take place. At level 2 hygiene protocols are increased, with cleaning between locations and between sessions where appropriate. Woodwind instruments will not be available for use and peer involvement will only go ahead if the school is happy for me to do so. 

Levels 3 and 4: Face to face music therapy is not advisable. However, maintaining connections may be particularly valuable during lockdown. Depending on your child’s circumstances, online sessions, songwriting or shared video clips are potential options.

How much does it cost?

There is a considerable amount of non-contact time involved in music therapy work, with weekly preparation and note-taking as well as regular reviews. My fees reflect this additional time. Statements are sent out termly, and payments can be spread out via Automatic Payment or can be made in advance for the term. The initial statement covers the assessment period (usually 3 weeks). If we agree that music therapy will be beneficial, I then send a further statement for the remainder of that term. 

Fees per music therapy session: $65.00 for half an hour.

Music therapy assessment: $350 (3 sessions, 1 classroom observation and a written report)

Travel: If I am not already in your school or area delivering music therapy services, there will be a charge to cover my travel costs. Please contact me for a quotation for travel.

School consultations and workshops: Prices vary depending on your requirements. Again, please contact me for a quotation.