Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Phillip Pendley

Second Advisor

Carlos Guzman

Third Advisor

Shani Cigarroa


Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to identify and describe the perceptions of elementary K-4th grade teachers on the effects of music therapy as it pertains to academics and behavioral incidents in the special education classroom (Gooding, 2010).

Methodology: This qualitative study used a phenomenological design to ascertain the perception of the teachers on the impact of music therapy regarding academics of students in the K-4 grade special education classroom. The data were collected using the descriptive narrative to ascertain the perception of the changes in academics and behavior gathered from the interview questions.

Findings: Analysis of the phenomenological qualitative data showed that music has a positive effect on both academics and behavior in the K-4th grade special needs classroom. Data shows that music played as background noise allows the students to stay focused and add a calming effect to the classroom. The study found that music relieves anxiety and increases peer and staff relationships.

Conclusion: Resulting themes deduced from the qualitative interviews support the efficacy of music as a form of therapy in relation to academics and behavior in the K-4th grade classroom as it pertains to students with special needs. These findings prove the institutional need to support music as a form of therapy in the classroom.

Recommendations: It is recommended that the following six areas be pursued: (a) A mixed methods study be conducted to include the academic scores from California and Washington state tests, (b) a study that includes schools from a more diverse region, (c) include the paraprofessionals to ascertain their perspective, (d) including the perspective of parents of the special needs students, (e) replicate the study in the general education classroom to see what effects music as a form of therapy could have, and (f) conduct a study in later grade levels utilizing music selected by the teacher and music selected by the students to understand if the choice of music influences the outcome of the study.