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 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. We can also travel to homes and other community settings. To set up the caravan, we need a relatively level space to park with access to electricity, as well as space to manoeuvre.

*Please get in touch if you live in the Greater Wellington region or on the Kāpiti coast. Depending on demand, we 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 we 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 we 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 us useful background information to better understand their needs.

What are assessments and reviews?

Before starting work with your child, we will do a music therapy assessment. This is so that we can get to know your child and their musical preferences, and observe how they interact with the therapist and with others. Usually an assessment involves 3 or 4 child-centred music therapy sessions. We may also include a classroom observation, and at the end of the assessment period we will prepare a written report. We will then decide whether music therapy would be beneficial for your child, which therapist will be 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, we can attend review meetings. This will give us 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, we will produce a further written report outlining progress.

The cost of the initial music therapy assessment is outlined below. Informal reviews, up to two IEP or IP meetings (in Porirua), end of year and closure reports are included in the price of regular music therapy sessions. The cost for additional written reports, additional meetings and travel will be discussed in advance.

What about cancellations?

Please give as much notice as possible if your child is unable to attend a session. Where less than 24 hours’ notice is given we will charge you for the session. If we are unable to run a session due to conflicting personal or professional commitments, or due to sickness or COVID related isolation requirements, we will give you as much notice as we can. Where possible another therapist will run the session, but otherwise there will be no charge.

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 remains, the advice is to keep your child at home even with common cold symptoms, such as sore throat, cough or runny nose.

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

What are your COVID precautions?

Government guidelines are constantly evolving as this pandemic progresses. Please follow Ministry recommendations on when to keep your child home from school, keep up to date with current locations of interest and isolate or get tested as necessary.

Emily and George are both fully vaccinated. This is a legal requirement for us to be able to work with children in school settings. We will not limit access to our services based on a child’s vaccination status. However, due to the nature of our work we often support vulnerable individuals who are immunocompromised. We will therefore ask about your child’s vaccination status so that we can assess the risk to all of our clients, and where necessary we will initiate additional protocols to protect our most vulnerable.

Under the current Traffic Light System, the Little Musical Caravan is able to work at schools and pre-schools under all alert levels, providing that the host facility is happy for us to do so. Our COVID protocols are very cautious and will be revised as more information becomes available. They will be updated here and on our social media pages. 

At Green:

  • Use of hand sanitiser on entering and leaving the caravan is encouraged.
  • The caravan is ventilated during and between sessions.
  • Instruments and surfaces are cleaned regularly. If any item has been in a child’s mouth, it is thoroughly washed.
  • Mask wearing is optional for therapists and participants from Year 4 and up.
  • Any adults who attend sessions (e.g. TAs and parents) must scan in using the QR code at the caravan’s entrance.

At Orange: (In addition to protocols at Green)

  • Woodwind instruments are not carried in the caravan.
  • The caravan is thoroughly cleaned between each facility, including all instruments and commonly touched surfaces.
  • Mask wearing is encouraged for therapists and participants from Year 4 and up, but not required.
  • Peers from the same syndicate or year groupings (including composite year groupings) can be invited to participate in sessions, but they must be well and we will keep a record of who attends. Additional adults (e.g. TAs and parents) must scan in using the QR code at the caravan’s entrance.
  • We will only run sessions that are based in the caravan. This means that group sessions and sessions that are run onsite at pre-schools (for example where access isn’t possible for the Little Musical Caravan) will not be possible

At Red: (In addition to protocols at Orange)

  • The caravan is thoroughly cleaned between each session, including all instruments and all surfaces.
  • Mask wearing is required for therapists and participants in Year 4 and above (unless they have a valid exemption).
  • Peers from the same classroom bubble can be invited to participate in sessions, but they must be well and we will keep a record of who attends. Additional adult involvement (e.g. TAs and parents) is restricted, but where this is necessary they must scan in using the QR code at the caravan’s entrance.
  • Where host schools would prefer for us not to work onsite, we can offer an alternative location in Whitby, but parents would be responsible for transporting children to and from sessions.
  • Where children are absent from school for an extended period, it may be possible for us to arrange telehealth sessions.

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. Our fees reflect this additional time.

Payment for music therapy assessments is due in advance. For ongoing music therapy sessions after the assessment period, statements are sent out at the end of each calendar month. Payment is due within 14 days. Alternatively, payment can be spread by setting up an Automatic Payment or by manual instalments, but please get in touch to arrange this. There will be an administration fee if it is necessary to investigate unpaid invoices. However, please get in touch if you are in financial difficulties; we don’t want cost to be a barrier to accessing music therapy services.

Fees per music therapy session: $65.00-$85.00 for half an hour, depending on therapist experience. This fee includes non-contact time for preparation and note taking.

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

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

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