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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Music Therapy

First Advisor

David E. Wolfe

First Committee Member

Audree S. O'Connell

Second Committee Member

Michael Allard


The purpose of this study was to examine the improvisation skills of musicians and non-musicians. Fifteen musicians and 13 non-musicians completed a pre- and post-performance questionnaire and played a free improvisation on the piano. The free improvisations were rated by three independent observers using the Music Improvisation Rating scale, and the responses on the questionnaires were tabulated.

Results showed no difference between musicians and non-musicians for duration, expectation, self-reported interaction and satisfaction. There was, however, a statistically significant difference for judged interactions between the two groups. This may suggest that a client should not be excluded from music therapy because of lack of musical skills. The therapeutic and musical interactions, however, have to be handled and interpreted differently by the therapist. Working with musically skilled clients may require different interventions from working with musically naive clients.



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