Dr Daphne Rickson

Dr Daphne Rickson profile picture

Senior Lecturer, Music Therapy School of Music


Teaching in 2020


  • MMusTher Massey
  • MHealSc(MenH) Otago
  • PhD Massey & Well, LTCL, RMTher


  • Senior Lecturer, Music Therapy
  • Coordinator of Clinical Programmes


Dr Daphne Rickson has been tutoring and lecturing on the Master of Music Therapy programme since its inception in 2003. She takes responsibility for teaching music therapy methods (clinical and research), organising and supervising clinical practice and supervising second year masters research projects in music therapy. In 2010 she became the first NZSM PhD, with her degree jointly conferred by Massey and Victoria Universities, Wellington. Daphne has over twenty years’ experience in music therapy and has worked with people who have a variety of needs, in a range of therapeutic settings.

The majority of Daphne’s research focuses on music therapy in school settings, including an investigation into music therapy to promote pro-social behaviours in aggressive adolescent boys - towards her Master of Health Science (Mental Health) (Otago University); music therapy with adolescents who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - towards the Master of Music Therapy (Massey University); and the development of a music therapy school consultation protocol for students with high or very high special education needs – towards her PhD in Music with the NZSM (Victoria University of Wellington, and Massey University of NZ). Daphne was also member of a Ministry of Education team investigating effective practice in education for children who have Autism (Ministry of Education).

More recently she has developed a particular interest in critical approaches to music therapy which involve enabling marginalised people to appropriate music resources towards increased, valued, participation in their communities. She has investigated community attitudes towards the inclusion of young people with disabilities in a high profile community music event, and led a participatory action research team of music therapy colleagues and young people with intellectual disabilities, to uncover the perceived value of music for this population. Her co-authored text, with Dr Katrina McFerran of Melbourne University, entitled Creating Music Cultures in the Schools: A perspective from community music therapy (Barcelona Publishers) was released in 2014. Daphne is currently working on a TLRI funded project with a school in Christchurch to examine the relationship between their daily singing, and wellbeing.

Daphne has maintained close relations with national and international music therapy communities. She is currently Associate Editor of Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy, and is on the Editorial Board of Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. She is also President Emeritus and Life Member of Music Therapy New Zealand.

Music Therapy research

Daphne Rickson's research areas include:

  • Critiquing the convergence of disability studies and music therapy perspectives
  • Developing a culture of music in schools: community music therapy perspectives (with Associate Professor Katrina McFerran-Skewes, Melbourne University)
  • Participatory action research with young people who have intellectual disability: determining the value of group musicking with this population
  • Including young people with disabilities in community music events
  • Music therapists as consultants to schools: working with teams supporting learners with diverse needs
  • Music therapy for children and adolescents who experience sensory or behavioural difficulties
  • Effective practices in education for children with autism


Teaching in 2020