Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Olivia Swedberg Yinger


There is currently a lack of racial diversity within the music therapy field and a lack of research on the experiences of Black music therapy graduate students wanting to build community and belonging. The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences of three Black graduate music therapy students at the University of Kentucky seeking to build community and belonging with their Black peers. To further understand the experiences of these Black graduate music therapy students, this study followed participatory action research (PAR) methodology. Throughout the research process, I worked with participants to shape the project in a way that best fit the needs of everyone involved. Throughout our weekly group meetings, the researcher and participants discussed topics related to current events and personal experiences related to our individual feelings of Blackness. Data was collected via a focus group interview, completed at the end of the weekly group meetings. The data from this interview was analyzed through verbatim transcription and coding, with the researcher identifying similar themes throughout the interview. Three themes emerged from the data: are these my people, we are not alone in this, and continuing to build community and future possibilities. These themes led to a community building experience, providing suggestions for other Black college students and music therapy educators who work with these students throughout the academic year.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Included in

Music Therapy Commons