Cynthia Colwell

Cynthia Colwell
  • Professor of Music Therapy
  • Music Education & Music Therapy
  • Music Therapy Area Coordinator

Contact Info

432 Murphy
1530 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045-3103


Ph.D. Louisiana State University; M.M. Florida State University; B.M.E. Acadia University

Cynthia Colwell, professor, joined the KU faculty in the fall of 2000. Her previous experience was at Phillips University in Oklahoma as the Director of Music Therapy and at The University of Arizona on the music education faculty. Colwell earned the BME degree from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, the MM degree in music therapy from The Florida State University and the PhD in music education from The Louisiana State University.

Her primary research interests are Orff-based music therapy, inclusion in music settings, attitudes of teachers and students toward children with diverse abilities, and teacher and therapist training. Upon arriving at KU, she developed a new practicum with the pediatric unit at the Kansas University Medical Center which later opened the door for a full time music therapy position on that unit and later established a practicum opportunity at the Kansas University Cancer Center for advanced students. She has served on the editorial boards for Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Music Therapy Perspectives, Journal of Music Education, and the Journal of Music Therapy.

Colwell has published research in the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives, Journal of Research in Music Education, and the Orff Echo and has presented research and concurrent sessions at regional and national conferences of the American Music Therapy Association, National Association for Music Education, and the American Orff-Schulwerk Association.

With clinical practice and teaching as a passion, Colwell was initially hired as the Director of the Music Therapy Clinic; later becoming the Director of Music Therapy. During her tenure, she has taught courses focused on Clinical Techniques, Music Therapy in Cancer Care, Inclusion in Music Settings, Orff Applications in Music Education and Music Therapy, and a course focused on inclusivity of students with diverse abilities for pre-service music teachers in the music education undergraduate sequence.