Neurologic Music Therapy
What is Neurologic Music Therapy?
Neurologic Music Therapy is a research based clinical model of music therapy. It is driven by advances in neuroscience which allows music therapists who practice it to have an
understanding of how to tap into the connections music makes in the brain to achieve non-musical therapeutic goals. Neurologic Music Therapy is a system of standardized techniques that are very clear cut and backed up by research. This makes it easy for the music therapist to pick the most effective and efficient path of treatment right from the start based on their diagnosis and the symptoms they present with.
Who can benefit from Neurologic Music Therapy?
Neurologic Music Therapists commonly work with individuals who have traumatic brain
injuries, strokes, dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and other neurological diseases affecting cognition, movement, and communication.
In Neurologic Music Therapy, it is imperative that the music is driving the change in order to create organization, structure, and motivation to help the client reach their goal. Neurologic Music Therapists go through extensive training to learn how to use and create specialized interventions that will help drive these changes and allow client meet their goal.
What can I achieve with Neurologic Music Therapy?
Some of the areas where Neurologic Music Therapy is commonly used include motor function, which encompasses gait training, range of motion, balance, strength, endurance, coordination, and activities of daily living. Music helps to cue the movement, provide structure for the
movement such as a clear starting and stopping point, and it helps to provide a purpose for the movement especially through playing instruments. Neurologic Music Therapists commonly work on goals relating to cognition which includes attention, executive function, memory, and sensory integration.
Music helps to stimulate the brain and strengthen the connections that are needed to reach goals related to cognition by using musical tools such as rhythm, melody, timbre, and dynamics. Impaired speech and language can be greatly improved with the help of a Neurologic Music Therapist. People who lose their speech are often still able to sing. This can be helpful for increasing word retrieval through cuing word and phrases by adding a melody. Rhythm can help to create more fluid speech and better articulation. Better breath support can be facilitated through singing.
Finally, non-verbal communication can be facilitated when the music therapist choses songs that the client is able to connect to and express themselves through the natural dialogue that is created by being in the music together.