‘Conductology: An original gesture system, co-created with intellectually disabled musicians, to enhance their creative ability and raise quality of output in their musical improvisations’

  • Denise White

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This practice-based participatory study investigated the effects of an original gesture system, Conductology, co-created by intellectually disabled musicians, on participants’ creative thinking in music and quality of their music improvisation output. Twenty-four intellectually disabled musicians participated in this research. Four co-created Conductology; and twenty participated in the main investigation, the testing of Conductology. The intervention group (N=10) and control group (N=10) took part in a twelve-week music improvisation project. Both groups used visual stimuli in week one through to week six to assist with the creation of music improvisations based on the agreed topics of ‘Love’ and ‘Nightmares’. The intervention group utilized the Conductology system from week seven through to twelve while the control group continued to only use visual stimuli. Individual participants were administered an adapted version of Webster’s Measurement of Creative Thinking in Music II (MCTM-II) immediately before the twelve-week workshops, and after the final workshop. In comparison with the control group (N=10), results indicated significant advancements in the three of the four MCTM-II subcategories of musical extensiveness (ME), musical flexibility (MF), and musical originality (MO) for intervention group participants. Furthermore, significant advancement in six key areas including collaboration, confidence and self-esteem, self-efficacy and challenge, novelty, creativity, and output is noted. Additionally, assessment of recorded improvisations indicated significant improvements in quality of music output for the intervention group. This research provided innovative opportunities for four intellectually disabled musicians to collaborate in the study’s design and methodological approaches, an area which has received little attention in the literature. This participative study has the potential to inform funding bodies and policy makers about how empirical music interventions can positively impact on a marginalized section of population.
Date of AwardMay 2018
Original languageEnglish
SponsorsDepartment of Education and Learning (DEL)
SupervisorFrank Lyons (Supervisor) & Una O'Connor Bones (Supervisor)

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