A Qualitative Analysis of Four Methods of Music Therapy for Well Adults

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Soderberg, Rebecca
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
This qualitative study examined the subjective experiences of 8 women between the ages of 33 and 66 who engaged in 4 different methods of music therapy identified by Bruscia (1998a): improvisation, composition, receptive experiences, and re-creative experiences. The researcher sought to investigate preferable methods and the influence of musical background on the music therapy experience. Participants engaged in each of the 4 methods of music therapy over the course of two separate sessions. In one session participants had a receptive experience and engaged in improvisation, and in the other session participants engaged in recreation and composition. Following each session participants were interviewed by the researcher about their experiences. Experiences in music therapy were unique to each participant and no single music therapy method was identified as most preferable by all participants. Through a data coding process, common themes in client experience were identified including enjoyment, going outside of the comfort zone, and amount of thought required. Music therapists working with new clients should be aware of the importance of intentionality, as well as how their clients might measure success and how accessible the different methods are to new clients. Further research is needed to learn more about each specific method, as well as how client perception of the experience may change over time.