Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell PhD

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD

Second Reader

Robin Gayle, PhD, MDIV, MFT


Music education has an important place for students with special needs. Through community based arts education programs, student benefits range from social to academic. The problem is that too often music education, among arts programs, is not taught in special education classrooms. The purpose of this study was to identify benefits that music education has on students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), focusing specifically on academic, behavioral, and communicative skills.

A review of the literature revealed that music is beneficial to students in a variety of ways, when they are provided the opportunity to engage in music education. Through this qualitative study, data were collected from teachers, community based master teachers, and middle school students, over a 9-week residency art programs in a public elementary/middle school in Northern California. Results identified that music education is beneficial to students with ASD in the areas of academics, behavior, and communicative skills.