Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Olivia Yinger


Music therapists often use songwriting interventions, but limited research exists on songwriting practices with older adults. The purpose of this study was to investigate songwriting practices of board-certified music therapists working with older adults, specifically: (a) common goal areas and interventions; (b) use of songwriting interventions; (c) perceived effectiveness of songwriting; and (d) music therapists’ comfort levels and training in songwriting practices.

An online survey was sent to 515 board-certified music therapists working with older adults, 118 of whom completed the survey. Respondents reported that songwriting was most effective in increasing self-expression of older adults. Some respondents reported using songwriting to address cognitive and communication goals, whereas others reported that challenges related to cognition and communication were reasons they do not use songwriting with older adults. There is a need for additional training in the use of songwriting with older adults.

Included in

Music Commons