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


This study explored the use of the marimba in Nordoff Robbins music therapy with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Three clients each received two individual 30 to 45-minute music therapy sessions over the course of three weeks. After reviewing the sessions an inductive thematic analysis was competed in order to determine themes that occurred throughout the study. Five themes were discussed using clinical examples and musical transcriptions. These themes included: (a) sharing the marimba to strengthen the therapeutic relationship, (b) the use of marimba as an accompanying instrument, (c) rhythmic structuring, (d) the use of Nordoff Robbins repertoire on marimba, and (e) the use of mallet techniques to reflect emotional qualities of the music. The use of mallet techniques in addition to the timbre and range of the instrument allowed for the marimba to be used clinically to engage clients in musical interactions. The examples included in the study indicated that the musical qualities of the marimba can be used to engage clients with ASD. There is still limited research on the use of the marimba in music therapy.

Related Pillar(s)


Included in

Music Therapy Commons