chapter  4
21 Pages

Music Th erapy with High-Risk Youth: An International Perspective


Th ese powerful statements were made by high-risk adolescents who participated in a group music therapy process and are evidence of the impact that music can have on young people. Th is chapter focuses on music therapy as a resource and intervention with adolescents at risk with specifi c reference to adolescents in confl ict with the law in South Africa. Tumbleson (2001) defi nes at-risk adolescents as: “Adolescents who are at risk of failing in some major task that is necessary to assure a happy and productive life and of being failed by one or more adults or adult driven system or institution” (p. 1). Mendel (1996) identifi es the following risk factors that contribute to youth’s propensity for violence and delinquency:

Th ey are more likely to come from families where parents are abusive and neglectful • and who provide harsh or erratic discipline Th ey tend to live in communities rife with drugs, crime, guns and poverty where posi-• tive role models and safe constructive recreational opportunities are scarce. Th ey are likely to associate with peers who are delinquent or drug abusing. • Th ey are “tracked” at school into classes dominated by low achieving and trouble-• making students.