Anyone can use the kalimba to help people the way I do, no matter what his or her training. I view the kalimba as a prop—something to hold in my hand, something to do, an excuse for being there, something to hold people's attention for a moment while I slip them a measure of love and caring. But an actual music therapist has the training to use music to empower people with overwhelming problems and disabilities.
Every music therapist has a main instrument - usually piano, guitar, voice, or harp, but it could also be flute, violin, percussion, or anything really. In addition, all music therapists need to have a basic competency in piano and guitar and voice. They need to be able to lead a song on a guitar, or play basic music on the piano.
The kalimba is a perfect instrument for music therapy, and it is as powerful as a harp or a guitar in many ways. Its size makes it better than a guitar or harp or piano for things like hospice work or working close in with small children, or in remote locations you need to hike to. And the kalimba definitely tilts the odds towards success when played by children. It is a dream of mine that in 20 years, basic kalimba competency will be a requirement for music therapists across the nation.
In the Music Therapy area of the website we provide you with a collection of videos and resources that explain and demonstrate how people are using the kalimba in music therapy.