Music therapists’ application of ‘rap & singing’ engagements for youth at risk—A questionnaire-based survey

Research paper by Sylka Uhlig, Theo Dimitriadis; Laurien Hakvoort; Erik Scherder

Indexed on: 04 Jan '17Published on: 27 Dec '16Published in: The Arts in Psychotherapy


Publication date: Available online 21 December 2016 Source:The Arts in Psychotherapy Author(s): Sylka Uhlig, Theo Dimitriadis, Laurien Hakvoort, Erik Scherder Music therapists use rapping and singing for at-risk youth and young adults in different treatment settings. However, it is unclear how often and what kind of therapeutic interventions they apply, and what kind of treatment goals are pursued. The purpose of this study was to examine approaches of music therapists towards the application, frequency, and function of rap and sing engagements. Identification of these characteristics might support the refinement of these therapeutic interventions and encourage detailed application. A 25-question survey was administered to 336 qualified music therapists in the Netherlands: reflecting on the role of rhythm in rapping and of melody in singing, assessing the frequency of both applications in music therapy, and reporting specific treatment goals by youth population. Results indicated that both rapping and singing applications in music therapy can enhance self-regulative skills during the process of emotional expression. In particular rapping occurred in this study considerably less frequent than singing but considered to decrease aggressive behavior. Singing was applied daily and associated with the support of deeper emotional involvement. The results suggest the need for more consistent descriptions of therapeutic interventions for the use of rap styles in music therapy practice, and the development of specialized protocols for research studying its effects for quality improvement.