Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Dr. Brian L. Wilson

Second Advisor

Edward A. Roth

Third Advisor

David S. Smith


Music, Therapy, Guitar, Training, Survey

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of this study was to examine music therapists' perceptions of guitar use and training in clinical practice. Three major research questions dealt with guitar use, guitar training, and clinicians' confidence using the guitar in clinical practice. A quasi-random sample of 1000 board-certified music therapists were invited to complete an online questionnaire with 27 questions in the areas of guitar use, guitar training and experience, and the importance of 28 specific skills. One hundred fifty music therapists (n = 150) responded.

Major findings include: (1) clinicians appear to use the guitar frequently and, on average, see guitar skills as more important than piano and percussion skills; (2) respondents tended to feel better prepared when they had more than one semester of guitar training and many expressed a desire for more guitar training, specifically in the areas of stylistic playing and improvisation; (3) respondents who were trained in guitar by music therapy faculty felt their training was more clinically relevant than those trained by non-music therapy faculty; (4) music therapists are generally confident in their guitar skills and the factors that predict high confidence levels need to be further explored and; (5) a majority of music therapists enter their academic programs with little or no guitar experience and this appears to be especially true for females. Discussion includes the relationship of these results to previous research, implications for training and practice, and recommendations for further research.