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Using Guitar and String for Motor Goals

Exploring Motor Uses of Instruments in Music Therapy – Guitar and Varied String Instruments

 by Madison Michel, MT-BC

Hello all, Madison here again with part 2 of my latest series! 

For my graduate practicum project in fulfillment of my master’s in music therapy at Colorado State University, I decided to delve into instruments and the creative ways we can use them as music therapists to address motor needs with a wide variety of clients. This is a resource intended for other music therapists, students, related professionals, anyone curious about music therapy. The following profiles are 2 of 8 total in which  I explore ways to use the instruments to address multiple motor needs. Be sure to click through the links to the demonstration videos in each profile for an even more in-depth look at each instrument. I hope you learn from and enjoy this project!

Profile on Motor Uses of the Guitar

History of the Guitar

The guitar is a member of the family of stringed instruments played by plucking or strumming.  With a history spanning 5,000 years, from agent Egyptian pharaohs to the expansion of written solo guitar music in 1500’s Spain, to American jazz in the 1920s, the guitar is arguably one of the most well-loved instruments across time (Lloyd, 1968).

Music Therapy and the Guitar

The guitar is arguably one of the most commonly used, if not the most commonly used instrument for music therapists. It’s portable, taught in undergraduate curriculum, and used across populations. Music therapists use the guitar to work purposefully on motor or cognitive goals with various populations served. For motor needs, in particular, it is important for music therapists to be able to adapt the guitar in purposeful ways to meet a wide variety of needs in multiple populations with developmental and motor needs.

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