A qualitative investigation of a virtual community music and music therapy intervention: A Scottish-American collaboration

Hannah Quigley*, Raymond MacDonald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study investigates the experiences of people involved in a virtual intervention involving community music and music therapy for individuals with autism. The intervention blends conventional music therapy and community music approaches. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many community music and music therapy projects shifted to an online format and there is a resultant need to understand more about how virtual music interventions may be of benefit for individuals with autism. We report on the design, implementation, and outcomes of one such intervention. Over an 8-week period, community musicians and music therapists (music facilitators) based in Scotland and America delivered 16 music sessions, which were recorded using Zoom software. During the sessions the participants wrote, performed, and recorded two songs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with two of the participants, using video elicitation techniques, and six of the facilitators. Data were analysed thematically. The intervention was found to i) enable participants to explore their personal narratives, ii) promote self-perceptions of achievement, and iii) provide evidence of mastery, creativity, and self-expression. An international collaboration made possible by technology enabled facilitators to work remotely and participants to make use of new opportunities for engagement. This paper demonstrates how community music practices focusing on participation and music therapy approaches focusing on clinical outcomes can be integrated. We present the online environment as its own social milieu in which creativity and connection can be explored in new ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalMusicae Scientiae
Early online date9 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Feb 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • autism
  • collaborative creativity
  • therapeutic songwriting
  • online technologies
  • video elicitation techniques


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