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October 2021

Effects of Active Versus Passive Group Music Therapy on Preadolescents with Emotional, Learning, and Behavioral Disorders

Author(s): Coons, E. E.

Journal/Book: J Music Ther. 1999; 35: 49-67.

Abstract: This study attempted to compare the behavioral effects of active, rhythm-based group music therapy vs. those of passive, listening-based group music therapy on preadolescents with emotional, learning, and behavioral disorders. It was hypothesized that preadolescents who participated in active music therapy would more significantly improve target behaviors than those involved in passive music therapy. Achenbach's Teacher Report Form (TRF) was used to confirm changes among subjects in attention, motivation, and hostility as rated by homeroom teachers. Twelve music therapy sessions were conducted over a 4-month period with three different groups of subjects (n = 16), with two groups participating in active music therapy and the other receiving passive music therapy. Results indicate that subjects improved significantly after receiving both music therapy interventions. The most significant change in subjects was found on the aggression/hostility scale. These results suggest that group music therapy can facilitate the process of serf-expression in emotionally disturbed/learning disabled adolescents and provide a channel for transforming frustration, anger, and aggression into the experience of creativity and self-mastery. Discussion of results also includes recommendations for chousing one music therapy approach over another based on personality types and/or clinical diagnoses of subjects.

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