The third edition of ‘Music Therapy Research’: An interview with Barbara Wheeler — Barbara Wheeler & Daphne Rickson

Volume 10 (1) 2018 – Interview (first published on 18 January 2017)

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The third edition of ‘Music Therapy Research’: An interview with Barbara Wheeler

Barbara Wheeler & Daphne Rickson


In this interview Professor Barbara Wheeler reflects on the development of the third edition of ‘Music Therapy Research’ (Wheeler & Murphy 2016). Through a historical lens spanning more than two decades, she points to key and influential colleagues in the field and notes how each of the editions of the book has broadened to include a wider range of international perspectives and approaches to research. In explaining the important changes that she and her co-editor Kathleen Murphy have made in the third edition, she signposts current emergent trends and contemporary issues in the significantly changing landscape of music therapy research.


music therapy research, quantitative research, qualitative research, objectivist research, interpretivist research


Barbara L. Wheeler, PhD, MT-BC, holds the designation of Professor Emeritus from Montclair State University, where she taught from 1975-2000. She initiated the music therapy programme at the University of Louisville in 2000, retiring in 2011. She presents and teaches in the US and internationally with current faculty appointments at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg Schweinfurt, Department of Social Studies, Würzburg, Germany; and Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music, Katowice, Poland. She has been an active clinician throughout her career and worked with a variety of clientele. Barbara edited Music Therapy Handbook (2015) and the three editions of Music Therapy Research (1995, 2005, 2016) and is co-author of the two editions of Clinical Training Guide for the Student Music Therapist (2005, in press). She is also the author of numerous other articles and chapters. She is a past president of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and was Interview Co-editor for Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Barbara received an Award of Merit from AMTA in 2016.

Daphne Rickson is a senior lecturer on the Master of Music Therapy programme at Te Koki, the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington. She has practised music therapy with a range of populations but particularly with children and adolescents in schools. Her recent research projects have involved critical analysis of the concept of disability and investigation into music as an inclusive resource; including participatory action research with young people who have intellectual disability. She is currently investigating singing for wellbeing with teachers and children in a Christchurch school severely affected by earthquakes. She is the author of numerous journal articles, and is co-author of the 2014 book ‘Creating Music Cultures in the Schools: A Perspective from Community Music Therapy’. Daphne is an associate editor of Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy.