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

Brian Abrams

Committee Member

Lisa DeLorenzo

Committee Member

Seung-A Kim


As Asian international music therapy students, we shared many experiences and challenges when adjusting to the United States culture. In order to improve each other’s learning experiences and amplify our coping strategies, six of my Asian peers at Montclair State University and I spontaneously formed a group in 2011. The group seemed to have a positive effect on its members. To understand the benefits of the group from multiple facets and identify its role when addressing members’ needs in academic, clinical, and personal domains, I chose to use narrative inquiry and arts-based research in order to allow the participants to speak their perspectives in personal tones and convey messages that transcend verbal expression. Through systematic analysis of verbal and musical data collected from in-depth interviews, the challenges along with effects of cultural differences such as language barriers, losing control of overwhelming new things, and insufficient social support were identified. By addressing these identified issues, the group was found helpful in providing additional opportunities for practicing music therapy techniques, gathering information from each other, and using secondary language to share thoughts and feelings in a relaxing and secure environment. In addition, the increasing connection with in-depth cultural understanding greatly improved social bonding among members and, therefore, strengthened the social support system by creating a sense of belongingness for the members.

File Format


Included in

Music Therapy Commons