Date of Award


Document Type


Copyright Status, No Creative Commons License

All Rights Reserved

Degree Name

Master of Science in Music Therapy


Music Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Maria "Nina" Guerrero


The voice as it is used in clinical improvisation in music therapy can impact the therapeutic relationship between the client and therapist. This study sought to explore music therapists’ perceptions and experience of the client-therapist relationship in the context of improvisational voicework through semi-structured interviews with two experienced Nordoff-Robbins music therapists. The research questions included: What is the music therapist’s experience of the client-therapist relationship in using the voice improvisationally? What is the possible impact of vocal improvisation on the therapeutic process overall? Through an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis of the data collected in the interviews, three superordinate themes emerged: 1) The Vulnerability of the Voice, 2) Intentionality in Singing and the “Creative Now,” and 3) The Music Is Enough. Findings of the study imply that voicework and vocal improvisation play an important role in the development of the therapeutic relationship in music therapy. The use of the voice can enrich the therapeutic relationship by creating a pathway for communication between the client and therapist that might not otherwise exist. It may also be a unique means of expression for the client. Further research is needed to explore the role of vocal improvisation and voicework in developing the therapeutic relationship across theoretical approaches and client populations.

Related Pillar(s)


Included in

Music Therapy Commons