Document Type



Music therapy and its benefits to students with exceptionalities in special education programs have been proven through many social-scientific studies discussed in the literature review. Music therapy is the use of music as a therapeutic intervention for those with mental health, emotional/behavioral, and learning exceptionalities. Definitions of music therapy depend on many variables such as the philosophy, techniques, aims, and objectives of the therapists (Toolan & Coleman, 1994). Students with challenging behaviors, such as aggression and self-injurious behavior (SIB), benefit greatly from interventions in music therapy (Savarimuthu & Bunnell, 2002). The specific goal of this project is to create greater awareness of the benefits of music therapy to students with special needs and to create a unique curriculum that would incorporate music therapy into the special education program. The methodology for this research includes an in-depth analysis of multiple literature on music education, music therapy interventions, and curriculum models in an effort to understand the curricular elements of music therapy that would benefit Special Education programs in Massachusetts. The anticipated outcome is to develop a curriculum specific for students with exceptionalities that includes music therapy. Researching music therapy is important because my career goal is to work with the special needs population and to ascertain that music therapy is a part in these students’ effort to become productive members of society.


Department of Special Education

Thesis Comittee

Dr. J. Edward Carter, Thesis Advisor

Dr. Jeanne Ingle, Committee Member

Dr. Jon Cash, Committee Member

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.