Announcement: Research Award Winners!


The MAR Research Committee is delighted to announce the winners of the 2017 MAR Research/Special Project Award and the 2017 MAR Collaborative Research. Due to the large number of outstanding applications, it was decided to award two winners in each category this year! This year’s awardees are:


Michael F. Kelliher, MT-BC from Molloy College, Principal Investigator, with Dr. John A. Carpente, Molloy College and Dr. Devin M. Casenhiser, University of Tennessee, as collaborators for the research study entitled ‘Levels of Engagement with Children with Autism: A Microanalysis Study’.

Study purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the level of engagement of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in response to music therapist mediated clinical improvisational by: (1) correlating the improvisational technique implemented by music therapist to the level of child’s engagement and (2) examining the relationship between each child’s level of engagement and the sequence of clinical improvisational techniques implemented by music therapist. This will be the first music therapy study to examine the effectiveness as well as the sequencing of improvisational clinical techniques with children with ASD.

Ming Yuan Low, MT-BC , PhD student at Drexel University as Principal Investigator, with Dr. Alan Turry, Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy, New York University, and Dr. James Connell, AJ Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University, as collaborators for the research study entitled ‘The Music Interaction Scale: Examining Interrater Reliability of a New Nordoff-Robbins Scale’.

Study purpose: The purpose of this collaborate research study is 1) to establish inter-rater reliability of the Music Interaction Scale (Low et al., 2017) as a measurement tool of a client’s participation and interactions in music making within music therapy session of children with autism and 2) obtain preliminary data on the effect of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy on the engagement of children with ASD in music making. This work will lay the groundwork for a larger research program that was recently developed in collaboration with the Drexel University Department of Creative Arts Therapies, the Drexel University AJ Autism Institute, and the Nordoff Robbins Center for Music Therapy of New York University. The long-term goal of the 5-year research program is to 1) examine the efficacy of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy (NRMT) for improvement of communication and social interaction in children with autism and 2) assess transfer of enhanced skills to the child’s natural environment.


Dr. Dena Register from West Virginia University with Dream Catchers production of the musical On the Other Side of the Fence.

Study purpose: The Dream Catchers workshop is a brand new program designed to provide children of all abilities the opportunity to participate in an extra-curricular musical theatre experience, driven by inclusion in an exciting, safe, and supportive environment for self-expression at low or no cost to families. Because music therapy is a new service for this community, an additional mission of the Dream Catchers workshop is to serve as a model and change agent for strengths-based arts programming. Dream Catchers is the first explicitly inclusive musical theatre program in the community and desires to raise awareness about, not only the breadth of practice in which a music therapist works, but also how inclusion positively affects children’s and families’ experiences. Dream Catchers is designed and staffed primarily by music therapists with previous music theater and children’s theater experience. We have designed inclusive experiences that encompass all aspects of musical theatre, including singing, dancing, acting, and set and prop preparation, to typically developing K-12 students and all students with special needs through age 21. Participation in this workshop will allow all students to use the lifeskills that are inherent to music and theatre production to foster and maintain social cohesion, interaction, and respect amongst families and children with and without disabilities.

Meng-Shan Lee from Temple University with ‘The effect of music therapy on mood states with patients who have had Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI) and their caregivers’

Study purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of music therapy on mood states for both adults who have had ABI and their caregivers in Taiwan. It is hypothesized that after receiving music therapy, both adults who have had ABI and their caregivers will experience improved mood states. It is further hypothesized that patients’ mood states will be correlated with caregivers’ mood states.