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A Rhythm of Their Own: Music Therapy Students Present Research Project


Anthony Kaseor works with a couple of young clients during the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders’ preschool language lab.

The sound traveled down the hallway of Waldron Hall as though many different drummers were beating their own rhythms against anything that would make noise. Then another sound became apparent – the sound of young voices singing and laughing.

The visual that goes with these sounds was an image of a small group of young children clapping their hands, giggling or just taking in the activities with wide-eye intrigue. At the heart of the group stood Radford University music therapy students Anthony Kaseoru and Charity Quesenberry.

At first glance it seemed that these two were just having a great time reliving their respective childhoods. In truth, they were working in partnership with the RU Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders’ preschool language lab.

This work was the basis for their recent presentation made at the National Music Therapy Conference in Jacksonville, Fla.

For six weeks during the summer of 2013, Quesenberry and Kaserou provided music therapy services as part of a research project funded by a university wide grant.


Charity Quesenberry plays an "eyes, fingers, nose, and throat" identification game with a learning lab client.

The research was a joint effort between the music therapy and speech and language pathology (SLP) programs. Dr. Patricia Winter, Kaseoru and Quesenberry represented music therapy and Dr. Corey Herd Cassidy, Michelle Walker, Jaclyn Garrish and Jillian Ramsey from the SLP program handled more communication specific language goals.

Kaseoru and Quesenberry integrated those goals directly into musical experiences for the children, which included singing, instrumental interludes and movement activities.

“We then offered training sessions for the children's caregivers to learn about development of language, music and play, and how to nurture and understand the development process for their wards,” explains Kaseoru.

From this the two music therapy students created the presentation “The Impact of collaborative music therapy and speech/language therapy on parenting self-efficacy.”

The presentation featured the mixed-methods study from the summer lab, focused on quantitative and qualitative results based on responses and post-session interviews with the children’s caretakers. This was followed by an overall summary of the developmental models and the evolution of the music therapy interventions.

Kaseoru and Quesenberry’s faculty adviser for both the research project and the presentation, Winter says, “Their work was very well received. It is always great to be able to offer the perspective of music therapy students in a professional context.”

She feels that RU has a good representation of music therapy students and new professionals who attend such conferences and that they benefit from hearing their peers discuss research endeavors.

Kaseoru echoes this when he considers the presentation; “One of the most memorable moments was being asked a question by an audience member and actually having a relevant and informed answer.”

After being more of a spectator at such events, he found it very empowering to be in a position where he was able to answer music therapy questions for others.

“Though I am still a student I am finally learning and understanding enough that I can see myself gradually shifting toward a more professional role,” he concludes.

Kaseoru received his undergrad degree in vocal performance and psychology from Johnson State College in Vermont. He is at RU to continue his music therapy studies to become eligible to take the national music therapy certification exam.

Quesenberry, a senior music therapy major, found the entire process from working with the children with speech language disorders to presenting the topic very inspiring, “A memorable moment for me during the presentation was just being able to look up at the pictures on the screen and see that I, a student, did this and helped these children.”

From this project, she has discovered a true interest in working with children and finds that those with SLD are now in her top clientele.

The funding support for the presentation came from the Office for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, directed by Dr. Joe Wirgau, which allows undergraduate students to attend professional conferences.

Winter says, “It is a wonderful opportunity for both the students and the university to be present at professional conferences and it is my hope that it instills a desire in students to continue to actively engage in our national and regional organizations.”

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Feb 3, 2014

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