A Purposeful Music Program for Traumatized Youth

  • Author / Creator
    Andrews, Edrick
  • The need to build communities of empowered and socially responsible youth is becoming increasingly important among all levels of government across Canada and globally. This qualitative study examined how traumatized youth with high-risk conditions (e.g., mental health disorders, poverty, homelessness) and high-risk behaviours (e.g., gang involvement, substance misuse, suicidal attempt) use music-making within a purposefully designed program to become agents of their own personal development. The research was a collaborative effort with an arts-based community youth organization in Edmonton, Alberta that works with traumatized youth 12 to 24 years old who displayed high-risk conditions and high-risk behaviours. Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with selected staff from the organization and a series of focus groups were conducted with youths involved in the music program.
    Two theoretical frameworks, Positive Youth Development (PYD) and Social Justice Youth Development (SJYD), guided the study question and analysis. These approaches highlighted the value of capitalizing on the youths’ latent assets to help in their personal development. More importantly, the data revealed that highly traumatized youth need to be nurtured and healed before they can effectively participate in and contribute to broad societal changes to dismantle oppressive systems and policies that negatively affect their general well-being and ability to prosper. This study uncovered the ways in which traumatized youth find meaning in the lyrics and music they make and perform through the program, and how their engagement in this activity inspire them to be reflective and commence their healing journey. An interpretivist approach aided by critical collaborative work with the community organization enhanced the understanding of how the traumatized youth experienced music-making and how it helps them to prepare for Positive Youth Development and Social Justice Youth Development.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
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