“We all Come Together to Learn About Music”1: A Qualitative Analysis of a 5-Year Music Program in a Juvenile Detention Facility

Maud Hickey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The purpose of this long-term qualitative study was to uncover evidence that might support components of positive youth development (PYD) in a music composition program at an urban youth detention center. The constructs of PYD come from self-determination theory—competence, autonomy, and relatedness—and formed the theoretical lens from which the data were analyzed. Over a period of 5 years, more than 700 youth participated in the program and created primarily rap music compositions. Comments from their feedback, as well as interviews, were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Findings point to the emergence of two main categories as reasons for enjoying the program: competence and positive feelings. Creativity also emerged as linked to competence and autonomy as well as the “Good Lives Model” of detainee development. Further research on using culturally relevant and creative music programming as a tool in PYD is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4046-4066
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • arts in detention
  • juvenile detention
  • music in detention
  • positive youth development
  • youth music

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


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