Let the music play on

Christchurch will come alive with the sounds of music from 14 – 20 November as our city celebrates Music Therapy Week, with this year’s theme being Make the Change.

Kimberley Wade, Neurologic Music Therapist and Director of Southern Music Therapy (SMT) explains, “Music Therapy New Zealand wants to bring an awareness as to what music therapy is, who we work with, and why more people should choose it as a career.”

Prior to becoming a music therapist, Kimberley studied psychology and classical singing. It was while performing in an opera that the accompanist (a registered music therapist) suggested to Kimberley that she should think about a career in music therapy.

“It was a lightbulb moment – that I could merge my two passions, because I love the music side and I love the therapeutic side.”
Kimberley is passionate about working with adults with neurological conditions – a passion that grew from her co-founding of the Cantabrainers Choir.

“Around 15 years ago I worked in special education and had one client with traumatic brain injury, whom I loved spending time with. I started talking with a speech language therapist about the benefits of forming a choir and, eventually, we made it happen.”

The Cantabrainers Choir is termed a “therapeutic choir as music is the tool that builds on helping our members have a space to improve or maintain their voice and communication through singing and socialising,” Kimberley says.

SMT comprises a team of nine professionals who work with children, people of intellectual disability, and people with neurological conditions.

All the therapists have a Masters qualification in Music Therapy, all are registered with the New Zealand Music Therapy Registration Board, and all offer one-on-one therapy sessions as well as groups.

Constant professional development is another crucial component to SMT.

“Because we work in such a variety of areas, it’s vital to keep upskilling with the latest research and keep fresh with creating our resources,” says Kimberley.


Southern Music Therapy will host an Open Day at Braintree Wellness Centre on Monday 14 November, and the Cantabrainers Choir hosts its Open Day at Mary Potter Community Centre on Wednesday 16 November.

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