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. Yasmine Iliya


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the lived experience of a teacher who participated in one 30-minute Improvisational Music Therapy (IMT) session with her students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Participants included a teacher who has never participated in music therapy sessions with her students, as well as four of her students, ages 12-17, with a primary diagnosis of ASD, and each of their paraprofessionals. Data were collected and thematically analyzed based on transcriptions of the interview with the teacher and videotaped music and verbal interactions in the session. Four essential themes that emerged were identified as follow: cultivating relationships, following the students' lead, observing the students from a different lens, and gaining and integrating new knowledge. Results of the study highlight the value of this investigation for the teacher who collaborated with her students in the music-making process. She gained new knowledge about their social and communicative abilities that enhanced her desire to implement music-based strategies in her classroom. Overall, this study offers the first evidence about a teacher's lived experience in active music-making process of IMT and provides qualitative support for existing literature about the benefits of employing a relationship-based approach when working with students with ASD.

Related Pillar(s)


Included in

Music Therapy Commons