Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Music Therapy


Music Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Barbara Wheeler


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to conduct a holistic investigation into the role of songs in music therapy in the lives of adults who have developmental disabilities. Four music therapists with experience with this population participated in open-ended interviews about the role of songs with their clients. McFerran and Grocke’s (2007) method of qualitative interview analysis was used to find the individual and collective essences of the participants’ experiences. Four global themes were associated with the role of songs in relation to clients: developing familiarity and attachment; receiving safety and stability; bringing out the able, engaged individual; and joining the interpersonal, collective world. Implications for developmental music therapy with this population are discussed.

Related Pillar(s)


Included in

Music Therapy Commons