Worship and Music - Ethnomusicology


Master of Arts (MA)


Katherine Morehouse


Autism, Music, Music Education, Music-play, Special Education


Ethnomusicology | Music | Musicology | Music Pedagogy | Music Theory | Other Music


This is an ethnographic research study regarding the nature of commun-, ication, musical behavior, emotional expression, and social relationships in children with autism. Four children completed the study by participating in at least three private music-play sessions attended by the child, his or her mother, and the researcher. All music-play sessions were person-centered and child-led. A local public elementary school hosted the music-play sessions in the music classroom after school hours. In addition, the school supplied all the musical instruments used in the study. The researcher utilized the SCERTS Model assessment tool to examine each child’s abilities in socio-musical communication and emotional regulation throughout the study. The research design is an ethnographic study of the children’s reactions to music-play and their use of the music-play sessions to express their emotions, communicate with the researcher and a parent, connect with others in an environment free of neurotypical communication requirements, and engage in social interaction in the form of socio-musical games. Each child led the researcher to conclusions about the functionality of music-play, the use of music in therapeutic programs, the nature of relationships between individuals with autism and their family members, and possible ways to promote open discourse between family members of children with autism and proponents of neurodiversity.