Anglia Ruskin Research Online (ARRO)
3 files

Group music therapy in primary schools to develop tolerance and inclusion: laying the foundations for future peace

posted on 2023-08-30, 20:22 authored by Paola Pecoraro Costa Esperson
This study investigates how group music therapy in primary schools promotes inclusion, considered by the researcher as a path to peace. The methodology used emerged from two decades of fieldwork in the fully inclusive Italian education system during which the researcher witnessed how group music therapy for inclusion (MTI) has the potential to not only support disabled children but also foster the development of the emotional and social intelligence needed to build inclusive and peace-oriented societies. Mixed method action research was used to investigate the effect of ten weeks of group MTI sessions delivered to 315 primary school children aged 8-11, in Italy and the UK. A pilot project trialled the multiple assessment tools used for data collection: questionnaires from the Index for Inclusion (Booths 2002), music therapist’s questionnaires, Emotional Quotient inventory EQi-YV (Reuven, Bar-On 2012), children’s drawings and a MTI assessment based on the International Classification of Functioning, Child and Youth ICF-CY (WHO, 2007), purposely devised for this study. Results were statistically analysed to determine their significance using the SPSS software. Findings showed that in both countries children improved their personal confidence, empathy, adaptability and tolerance. The study also examined whether the children’s progress was influenced by environmental factors such as policies and the teachers’ cultural attitudes towards inclusive education. Neither the teachers’ attitudes nor the educational policies seemed to diminish the effects of MTI. The conclusions drawn indicate that MTI offers a framework that can help children develop emotional, social and peace-building competencies. However, this application of music therapy is not universal and needs to be promoted. More studies could strengthen the music therapy profession and be used to persuade policy makers about the efficiency of group MTI in schools and communities, with the goal of ensuring its regular application in the traditional curriculum.



Anglia Ruskin University

File version

  • Accepted version


  • eng

Thesis name

  • PhD

Thesis type

  • Doctoral

Legacy posted date


Legacy creation date


Legacy Faculty/School/Department

Theses from Anglia Ruskin University/Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences


Accessibility note: If you require a more accessible version of this thesis, please contact us at

Usage metrics

    ARU Theses


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager