A-Z List


Learning & Behavior

Music Therapy Perspectives

Compiled by Jessica Lichty

Staum, Myra and Patricia J. Flowers. “The use of simulated training and music lessons in teaching appropriate shopping skills to an autistic child.” Music Therapy Perspectives. Vol. 1 No. 3 (Spring 1984): 14-17.

This study investigated the effects of simulated training and music lesson reinforcement on the shopping skills of an autistic girl and her ability to transfer these skills to an actual grocery store setting. Behaviors chosen were (a) touching merchandise and (b) proximity to the therapist. Each skill was introduced individually while criteria became progressively more difficult over an 11 day period. Piano lessons were used as reinforcement for successful shopping trials. After 9 days of trial at the store all selected  inappropriate shopping behaviors had been completely eliminated.


Tyson, Florence. “Music Therapy as a choice for psychotherapeutic intervention: A preliminary study of motivational factors among adult psychiatric patients.” Music Therapy Perspectives, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Fall 1984): 2-8.

This paper is the result of a preliminary study of a sample of fifty non-institutionalized adult psychiatric patients referred to Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center for individual music therapy sessions. The sample is drawn from among those clients seen regularly by  the author at the Center for a minimum of 3 years. All of these have been referred by primary psychiatrists, neurologists,  psychologists or psychotherapists with whom they were all in concurrent treatment. Each patient expressed a desire to learn to sing,  to compose, or to play a musical instrument. The patient’s conscious motivation toward the treatment modality is set forth. The study also attempts to identify unconscious and symbolic elements in the patient’s life and music behaviors which predispose the  individual not only toward music therapy, but to music itself. Sections on “Music: Tools for Survival”, “Music in Everyday Life”,  “The Relation to Ego Development,” “The Relation to Sound, Speech, and Language,” and “Symbolic Music-Related Behaviors” highlight the contribution of music to mankind’s struggle to survive and master reality in primitive times as well as today.


Gervin, Ann P. “Music Therapy compensatory technique utilizing song lyrics during dressing to promote independence in the patient with a brain injury.” Music Therapy Perspectives Vol.9 (1991): 87-90.

Decreased abilities in the areas of initiation, sequencing, and motor planning are residual deficits resulting from traumatic brain injury which can reduce an individual’s independence and ability to perform daily tasks such as dressing, grooming, and bathing. The interdisciplinary treatment approach described herein has shown promise within an acute rehabilitation environment for increasing patient abilities with initiation, sequencing, and motor planning. The technique provided auditory cues in the form of song lyrics within a musical framework. The interchangeable lyrics, sung by the music therapist, comprised one-and two-stage commands and freed the occupational therapist or certified occupational therapy assistant to provide any required physical assistance. This compensatory technique was used until the patient’s cognitive abilities for memory and recall of the sequential steps for dressing improved. The goal of the program was to increase independence through improvements in the designated goal areas; Independence was indicated by decreases in dressing completion times and needs for caregiver involvement.


Fitzgerald-Cloutier, Mary Lee. “The use of music therapy to decrease wandering: an alternative to restraints.” Music Therapy Perspectives Vol. 11(1993): 32-36.

This case study explores the effectiveness of music therapy and reading sessions in decreasing wandering. Data were recorded on the amount of time an 81-year-old female patient diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s disease remained seated during both music therapy and reading sessions. The resident wandered continuously throughout the day and was unable to remain seated for any activity. Neither condition included the use of physical or verbal prompting when the patient got up to leave. Both the music  therapy and reading sessions redirected the patient from wandering, but the total time during which she sat for the music therapy sessions was double that of the reading sessions. The impact of music therapy on communication and interaction is also discussed.


Standley, Jayne and Jane Hughes. “Evaluation of an early intervention music curriculum for enhancing prereading/writing skills.” Music Therapy Perspectives Vol. 8 (1990):79-85.

This study evaluated effects of music sessions designed to enhance prereading and writing skills of 24 children aged 4-5 years who were enrolled in Early Intervention and Exceptional Student Education (ESE) programs. The design utilized two groups of matched participants with repeated measures and counterbalanced treatment/control conditions. Each treatment condition lasted 7.5 weeks and included two 30-minute music lessons per week for a total of 15 lessons. In the fall, music was designed to teach writing skills and, in the spring, to teach reading skills. The music treatment was provided in addition to the regular prekindergarten curriculum. The control condition involved instruction in the regular prekindergarten curriculum without music involvement. All participants were pretested, posttested at the end of fall, and again at the end of the spring music lessons. Results demonstrated that music significantly enhanced print concepts and prewriting skills of the children as intended. Implications for academic, social, and motivational applications of music in Early Intervention programs are discussed.


Gfeller, Kate. “A cognitive-linguistic approach to language development of the preschool child with hearing impairment: implications for music therapy practice.” Music Therapy Perspectives, Vol. 8 (1990): 47-51.

Current thought on language rehabilitation for hearing-impaired preschoolers emphasizes the role of cognition and social context in language development. This paper outlines the basic components of a cognitive-linguistic model for language rehabilitation: (a) levels of representation, (b) levels of operation, and (c) core content area. Each of these components is discussed as they relate to music therapy practice.