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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Wilfred M. Mitchell


One of the purposes in writing this thesis has been to present to the reader some of the guiding principles and practices which have grown outof the writer's experiences in Musical Guidance and Therapy.

During the years immediately preceding the first World War, assignments as a volunteer music worker in hospitals and settlement houses in and around Boston gave the writer practical experience in such institutions as the North End Settlement House, the Home for Crippled Children, and McLean Hospital for the mentally ill.

Some of the experiences provides a type of education which could not have been obtained in a college at that time, while others shocked the writer into an awareness of the conditions prevalent in institutions for the mentally and physically handicapped. However, it was service in France during World War I which gave the writer unusual opportunities to observe the restorative power of music in overseas camps and hospitals.

Chapter I of this thesis provides a suggestive historical background. It indicates that music has enjoyed a long and favorable, though interrupted, history as a therapy for mental illness. It also notes that during recent decades, and especially since World War I, increasing attention has been given to this modality in therapy. Finally, it proposes that the current status of musical therapy isoneof tentative acceptance, with complete approval of the results along the lines established by Dr. Ira Altschuler, Dr. Willem Van de Wall, and A. Flagler Fultz.

In Chapter II the writer will present several case studies of mental patients in a state hospital who have been treated with music over periods of time ranging from three months to three years.

The concluding chaper, Chapter III, embodies in didactic form the principles, practices, and techniques which are illustrated by the case material. As such they are the writier's findings. They have grown out of many years of study and experience, and it is the writer's opinion that they provide the basis for future development in the field of musical therapy.





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