Knowledge and training of Orff-based music therapy among students, clinicians, and educators — Colwell

Volume 14 (1) 2022 – Article (first published on 23 July 2020)

Full text [PDF]

Knowledge and training of Orff-based music therapy among students, clinicians, and educators

Cynthia M. Colwell


The purpose of this research study was to examine knowledge and training of Orff-based music therapy among music therapy students, clinicians and educators using a variety of demographic, training, and outcome variables. The measurement tool was an online survey designed to satisfy this primary purpose and seven associated research questions targeting: (1) Demographics, (2) Definitions, (3) Training, (4) Professional Development (5) Clinical Practice, (6) Treatment Outcomes, and (7) Professional Competencies. Basic descriptive statistics were provided through SurveyMonkey, although the researcher condensed provided narrative content as needed to present summarised text responses. Results and Discussion are organised around these seven primary research questions, with Implications for Training and possibilities for Future Research included. In summarising just a few pertinent results, 56% of the 262 survey respondents indicated having training in Orff- based music therapy within their academic programme. One hundred and four respondents (39.7% of 262) said they used it in their clinical practice and 95.4% thought it could be effective within the social domain. Respondents felt the following professional competencies could be addressed through training in the Orff process for student music therapists: transpose simple compositions; compose songs with simple accompaniment; adapt, arrange, transpose and simplify music compositions for small vocal and nonsymphonic instrumental ensembles; utilise basic percussion techniques on several standard and ethnic instruments; and improvise on pitched and unpitched instruments, and vocally in a variety of settings including individual, dyad, small or large group.


Orff-based, music therapy, survey

Author Biography

Cynthia Colwell is the Director of Music Therapy at the University of Kansas in the United States. Her primary teaching and research interests include facilitating Orff-based music therapy in diverse settings and positively impacting the attitudes of pre-service teachers toward students with special needs in music settings. []