• Marta Pecourt
4. term, Music Therapy, Master (Master Programme)
In this master thesis I have made a retrospective study of the role of a child’s favorite musical instrument in enhancing communication. This role has been related to the concept of intermediary object.
The motivation to make this study comes from the work I did during my internship with a four-year old child with Fragile X syndrome. The investigation has a flexible design, and uses a case study strategy. The focus is on how the patient relates with the instruments and the music therapist.
The method of data analysis is inspired in the AQR instrument and it observes communicative events and interprets them from the point of view of developmental psychology.
In order to understand the difficulties the child presented at the beginning of the music therapy course, the common characteristics found in Fragile X syndrome, the assessment made by a psychological team, and the music therapy assessment made by the music therapist are described. Further, a comparison is made between Fragile X syndrome and autism, with which it shares some disabling characteristics like social avoidance and other aspects of atypical interaction.
The use of music therapy and the research done in music therapy with developmentally delayed children is summarized. And an overview of the way music therapy work with this population is presented.
The theoretical foundations of this study are the theories of developmental psychology, especially the work of Daniel Stern (1985, 2000) and Colwyn Trevarthen (2001). It is explained how the kind of dialogues that are used in music therapy have been likened to early interactions between an infant and his mother. In this context, some concepts from the field of developmental psychology that have been adopted by music therapists to explain their work are explained
Then the origin of the concept of intermediary object in the field of psychiatry is explained, as well as how it has been adopted by different music therapists.
This study analyzes the empirical data focusing in the description of different vignettes that show a relevant moment in the course of music therapy with the child. This description is made by means of two categories: relationship with the instruments and relationship with the music therapist. Besides this qualitative data, also quantitative data is presented in the form of graphics that show the amount of time spent on each instrument during the music therapy course.
Next, the results of the investigation are related to the concept of intermediary object.
Finally, the limitations of the study and my reflections about the role of the music therapist are presented and new perspectives for further research are indicated.

Publication date31 May 2012
Number of pages61
ID: 63487133