Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Rebecca Zarate


Self-esteem is an aspect of life that can affect how humans act. It is always ebbing and flowing, and typically never starts at the same level. Studies have shown that self-esteem in children with special needs is typically low because of varying symptoms associated with different diagnoses. Music therapy is an expressive therapy modality, and it can be utilized to increase levels of self-esteem by providing structure, predictability, and familiarity. It can be utilized to help meet a client’s goals while being adaptable to any client’s needs. Music improvisation is a tool within music therapy that can allow clients to create music as an expression of themselves and help them create an identity that cultivates their perception of themselves. To show how children with special needs can benefit from a strong therapeutic relationship and a consistent outlet for expression, a method was devised. The method used a musical forum for clients to check in and an improvisation session to create music that builds upon that check-in. The results showed an increase in self-esteem, an increase in clients’ perception of themselves, and the benefits of a strong therapeutic relationship. Self-esteem can change daily and can be improved with music therapy interventions.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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