Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of the Arts


John J. Cali School of Music

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Karen Goodman

Committee Member

Amy Clarkson

Committee Member

Margaret Freedson


This descriptive case study details music therapy with one five-year-old boy named Yitzchak who presented with autistic spectrum disorder. A literature review of aspects of a developmental skill, joint attention, is presented as a basis for the work. It defines joint attention and communication, as well as music’s effect on these skills within a developmental, individual-difference, relationship-based philosophy. An investigation was conducted to test music’s efficacy as a stimulus to increase joint attention behaviors and therefore increase language output. The results show positive trends of increases in eye contact and musical/communicative behaviors in a short-term therapy sequence of sessions as well as a decrease in fleeing/avoidance behaviors. Considerations for future study are presented.

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Music Therapy Commons