Growth, expression and healing through music

Music therapy in Johannesburg, South Africa

Where communication is physically or psychologically disrupted, where words are not available, or distrusted, or too personal, music can help… Musical meetings can be life changing.

Gary Ansdell – music therapist and researcher

What is music therapy?

Music therapy is a psychological practice that uses music to support people in various aspects of their lives. Through playing with sound, rhythm, melody, lyrics, dynamics and other aspects of music, the therapist and client address a wide range of issues. 

No musical experience or knowledge is required. 

How does music therapy help?

Emotional growth

Self-expression and communication

Mental health

Managing anxiety and depression
Reducing stress
Addiction/substance abuse issues
Managing autism-related conditions

Physical benefits

Recovery after accidents or strokes
Motor skills

Who is music therapy for?

Anyone can benefit from music therapy, no matter their age, or physical or intellectual ability. Everyone is welcome, and my practice is a safe space for expression and exploration. 

No musical skill or experience is needed for people to benefit from music therapy. 

Communicating and interacting through music can help people who are unable to talk or who find verbal communication difficult – whether in general or about a particular event.

What happens in music therapy sessions?

We start with assessment sessions to establish the client’s needs, focus areas and possible goals. From there I use a range of techniques, such as breathing, singing, drumming, songwriting, lyric analysis, improvisation on piano, guitar and other instruments, and even drawing and movement. The client is never forced or pushed into doing anything and they have the freedom to choose instruments and activities that they are comfortable with. Sessions with me are guided by the client’s needs, goals and how they feel in the moment.

Group sessions may  include song and lyric writing, lyric analysis (exploring meanings in songs) and playing instruments. I work with teenagers in a rock band format and also use computers and tablets to collaboratively create music. No musical experience or knowledge is required. 

Who am I?

As a professional musician and music teacher with over 30 years of experience I have witnessed the profound power that music has to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. 

I have worked in theatre, played with jazz and pop bands, composed, recorded, and released albums and even won a South African Music Award (SAMA) for my children’s music. I have been a passionate guitar teacher for over 30 years and have also taught music theory at a tertiary level. 

I primarily work with teenagers and children with issues around depression and anxiety, identity, self-confidence, anger, aggression, and bullying. I work with autistic teenagers and children (my Master’s research was titled “Becoming a rock band. Music therapy with autistic teenagers”). I also have experience working with adults including elderly people with dementia.

I have a B-Tech (music) degree and a master’s in Music Therapy from the University of Pretoria and am registered with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA). My practice is in Parktown, Johannesburg.

Practice number: 0989681 
HPCSA: AT 0001686

Book a music therapy session

If you want to find out more about music therapy, how it might help you or to book a session, please contact me.