The Violin in Music Therapy: How do I use the violin in music therapy with people who have intellectual disabilities or neurological conditions?
In this research I explored my use of the violin in music therapy with people who have intellectual disability and neurological conditions. I am interested in this topic because the violin is my primary instrument and I wanted to learn more about its therapeutic potential. My research methodology was Secondary Analysis of Qualitative Data, and the data were my clinical notes and research journal. Findings were generated through thematic analysis of the data. Five themes emerged. Specifically, I found that the violin’s voice-like timbre was helpful in fostering connections and encouraging emotional and communicative expression. Similarly, the ability to physically share the instrument, and to play it while mobile, also fostered connections between me and my participants. Because of my expertise on the violin I was able to utilize a vast variety of performance techniques both with familiar music and within improvisations that elicited meaningful musical moments. My relationship with the violin has developed and changed throughout this process and the violin has become a part of my identity as a music therapist. I anticipate that findings will interest other music therapists, and perhaps encourage them to use alternative instruments within their practice.