The approach to total muon capture rates by means of sum rule techniques is applied systematically to 1p shell nuclei. Explicit calculations involve ground-state wave functions extracted from Cohen-Kurath effective interactions. For the double commutator expectation value we use a form of the potential consistent with the effective interaction and the giant dipole resonance energy. Results are given for N = Z nuclei, studying the minimal sensitivity with the parameter of the improved closure approach. The manifestations of SU(4) breaking are quantitatively shown. Within the uncertainties of the model the rates thus obtained compare reasonably well with experiment.