Music Therapy Research and Resources
Below are links to valuable music therapy research and resources provided by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) to help you make an informed decision about music therapy as a part of your rehabilitation or IEP plan.
The AMTA has compiled solid research and information about music therapy. To learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder, Alzheimer’s, medicine, mental health, pain management, special education or young children and music therapy, click on a topic below.
Neuroscience has highlighted the unique ways that music is processed by our neurologic system. There is some overlap in how music and non-musical elements are processed neurologically. For example, after a stroke, some stroke survivors have difficulty speaking fluently, but they can sing fluently.
We use this robust processing to try and elicit responses that may not come out in other therapies. It is important to note that our brains are hard-wired to processes music, even if we do not have any musical training or experience. Here is how various elements of music can work in rehabilitation:
- Rhythm is processed in areas of the brain that also process motor planning, motor coordination, and general motor movement. Rhythm is a powerful tool for motor rehabilitation.
- Melody and pitch are processed in areas that also process prosody. Melody and pitch can be very effective at helping to re-train the prosody and inflection that are key to conveying meaning when we speak.
- Harmonic structure is key for cueing a response, and can often elicit fairly automatic responses when used in the presence of an overlearned song.
- Volume translates very well into force for motor or respiratory function.
- The sensory input provided by playing instruments can be very effective in motor rehabilitation. Using instruments to train functional movements creates visual, auditory and tactile feedback that helps the brain to understand the outcome of the movement. This is especially important for individuals who have difficulty with proprioception.
- Neurologic music therapy services are delivered by a board-certified music therapist with advanced training in neurologic music therapy.