Structured music workshops for individuals with learning difficulties : an evaluation study
Music has been employed in numerous different therapeutic settings throughout history. However, there are few empirical studies and inadequate research guidelines in relation to investigating the process and outcomes of this intervention in a modern context. Anecdotal and descriptive accounts of improvements in psychological adjustment as a result of a music intervention exist but the need for empirical evaluation is paramount. The aim of this thesis is to evaluate the effect of structured music workshops on the musical ability, communication skills, self-esteem, self-perception, disruptive behaviour and short term memory of adults with learning difficulties. This series of studies employs previously validated assessments materials in addition to materials specifically designed and validated for use in this project. The first study utilises a two group design with 20 individuals in an experimental group and 20 individuals in a non-intervention control group. After all participants were assessed for communication skills, musical ability, disruptive behaviour and self-esteem the experimental group received 10 weekly, one hour music workshops focused on the playing of a Javanese Gamelan. After completion of the workshops individuals in both the experimental and control group were post-tested on the dependent variables. Results indicate significant improvements for the experimental group in musical ability and one measure of communication. No significant improvements in disruptive behaviour or self-esteem were obtained. The second study employs a similar design to study 1 in addition to controlling for experimenter effects and investigating cognitive developments and self-perception changes.