Nordic Journal of Music Therapy

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Print ISSN: 0809-8131
This article reports the reflections of five women who participated in a group programme that incorporated the technique of song writing. In particular, the women reflect on their experiences of a song writing process and how they engage with their song creations some time after the completion of the programme. The programme this qualitative research is based on was a parenting support programme for women who had experienced childhood abuse. It utilized the technique of song writing to assist participants who had had histories of abuse as children and who were currently struggling in their parenting roles. In-depth interviews were conducted with five programme participants three years after completion of the programme. All participants reflected positively on the process of creating their songs and most reported they continued to engage with their song creations present day.
Methods for creating lyrics and music in therapeutic songwriting as described in the literature.
Responsibility for lyric and music creation.
The function of the song after completion.
A growing body of literature on therapeutic songwriting with diverse clinical populations indicates that clinicians employ a wide range of approaches. The purpose of this research was to establish trends in the clinical practice of songwriting as implemented across a range of clinical populations. Responses to a 21-question online survey were obtained from 419 professional music therapists practicing in 29 countries which focused on approaches to songwriting within their practice with a single clinical population. Results suggest that, in general, the literature provides good representation for what is occurring in clinical practice. Generally, songs were composed with individual clients in single sessions, with lyrics created prior to the music. Clinicians had a significant role in creating the music with improvised and pre-determined musical structures being equally employed. Chi-square or comparable Exact tests (Fisher-Freeman-Halton) were applied to the data and significant associations were found according to clinical populations, particularly with respect the number of sessions required to complete a song, approaches to composing lyrics and music, the context with which songwriting was employed, and the types of allied health professionals involved in the songwriting interventions. There is a distinct absence of songwriting literature as applied in developmental disability, autism spectrum disorder, and aged care contexts so the resulting practice trends offered here contribute to the increasing body of knowledge about songwriting practices.
Observing highly agitated, disoriented and distressed young adults experiencing posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) is emotionally difficult for both the family and the staff caring for them. The author discusses the findings of a research project, reported elsewhere, which addressed the agitation and poor orientation of this client group. Firstly, the author outlines the phenomena of posttraumatic amnesia and illustrates the similarities in clinical presentation with those people in coma and those who have Alzheimer's Disease. Following this, the text examines the research findings in relation to music therapy work with these clinical groups. The Yerkes-Dodson theory of arousal (1908) and the Activation Theory of arousal (Morruzzi and Magoun, 1949) are adopted to explain the findings. Music's creation of a familiar and safe environment and its role in decreasing arousal is in depth.
Self-reflection is integral to effective clinical practice and yet is a skill that many intelligent students struggle to develop. This paper reports on the findings of a pilot study where students shared both positive and challenging experiences with each other and co-wrote songs that captured their experiences. Four students attending clinical practicum engaged in collaborative songwriting experiences with peers from both the same and different universities in the US and Australia. These experiences utilized both face to face and online environments utilizing Skype communication software. Lyrics were reviewed by the researchers and were compared with themes and categories about music therapy clinical training found in the literature. Findings suggest that collaborative songwriting provides opportunities for students to engage in experiences of reflection with other peers. 2011 The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre.
New research developments in the recovery of function following neurological trauma as well as basic and applied research relevant to music perception and production, seem to point to the suggestion that specific music therapy interventions that irectly address the restoration of function as opposed to developing compensatory mechanisms, in certain circumstances, may now be a more appropriate treatment approach. We will address the issue of appropriate timing for the introduction of each strategy and discuss potential outcomes of each approach. As one might imagine, much of this research is published in the neurological journals, which music herapists may not regularly consult. It seems challenging enough just to keep abreast of new music therapy literature. Further, there is so much neurological research that the music therapy clinician often finds it difficult to know where to begin. This text provides an overview of a growing concept related to recovery known as neuroplasticity, and how specific training models in music therapy utilize this relatively recently identified phenomenon. Also, a framework will be provided to help guide the practicing clinician when attempting to build a lineage of systematic thought relevant to the use of music in neurorehabilitation, as well as discuss the frequently employed concept of behavioural compensation. Some music therapy literature that relates to these different concepts is outlined. Discussions surrounding the decision to use either of these two approaches are presented in relation to stages of recovery and the clinical presentation of the client.
A modification of the Grounded Theory method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) was used to identify and categorise the techniques employed by a music therapist in work with three children who have neurological and/or spinal injury in the Queensland Paediatric Rehabilitation Service at the Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia. Through viewing videotapes of nine individual sessions with three patients and undertaking detailed transcription and analysis of five of these sessions, eight categories of techniques used by the paediatric music therapist were identified. These are: cueing, synchrony, choices, orientation, preparation, feedback, incorporation and humour. Outcomes of this project offer clarification of techniques used by a music therapist working with children in a rehabilitation service.
Background: The aim of this study is to examine if positive results of International Cochrane Reviews on Music Therapy and Schizophrenia can be confirmed by a randomized controlled, double blinded study on music therapy for people suffering from schizophrenia with extensive negative symptoms in Denmark. The study includes 120 participants.Methods: Participants in the experimental group become 25 hours of individual music therapy by specific trained music therapists working from a manual, whereas the control group become 25 hours of being together with a care person (trained by a music therapist) for music listening from a selected playlist.Discussion: Ethical reflections around the design will be presented, and the possibilities of keeping the examination process blinded or not blinded to the participants will be shared.Conclusion: As this examination is currently running, the focus will be on the development of and application of the design and the experiences of the first 30–40 cases involved in the study.
This article outlines the historical evolution and precursors of modern music therapy in Vienna from c. 1820 to 1960. The first section describes early attempts to purposefully integrate music into Viennese psychiatry and highlights the groundbreaking work of Bruno Goergen (1777–1842), who around the year 1820 deliberately incorporated music into psychiatric institutions based on his dedication to the ideals of “moral treatment” and “no-restraint” psychiatry. Shortly thereafter, the first medical dissertations on the therapeutic effect of music began to be published in Vienna. Around 1850, the emergence of an “active” form of “music therapy” (in the broadest sense) is recognizable; during the same time period, physicians began taking their patients’ musical preferences, education, and disposition into account. However, as university medicine became firmly rooted in the standards of experimental science, physicians increasingly lost their interest in music. The second section gives an overview of several cultural movements that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century and inspired the pioneers of music therapy in Vienna, paving the way for the foundation of modern Viennese music therapy in 1958. Among these were the life reform movement, the curative rhythm and dance movement, and anthroposophy, as well as psychotherapy and progressive music-educational concepts. At the conclusion of this article, the main traits of the history of music therapy in Vienna and some of the pervading premises of Viennese music therapy are summarized.
Introduction: During the COVID-19 pandemic music therapy managers in hospitals were responsible for supporting their teams through relentless planning and implementation of change, including working virtually and in–person. The Creative Arts Therapies Managers’ Network was established as a group of eight music therapy managers to formulate and appraise thinking and generate and refine meaningful constructs to sustain their own capacities as managers. Method: Weekly meetings for the period April to July 2020 were recorded, transcribed and analyzed to generate themes that reflected these managers' early pandemic experiences. Results: Each manager used these themes as a basis for reflection to write stories that represented their lived experiences in that period. Discussion: These stories are discussed using theoretical constructs which inform them, including aspects of identity, moral dilemmas, relentless uncertainty, and resilience in response to uncertainty. These stories and underpinning considerations illuminate previously unexplored experiences of music therapy managers in hospitals.
Introduction: There is increasing evidence of the social, physical and cognitive benefits of group-singing for people living with dementia and their family carers. However, COVID-19 has necessitated the suspension of in-person group-singing globally. This study explores the impact of COVID-19 on dementia-inclusive singing groups and choirs in Ireland, and their facilitators’ responses. It seeks to contribute to the limited literature on online group-singing and music telehealth for people living with dementia and family carers. It strives to provide facilitators with practical information to adapt their programmes for online delivery and continue to support the health and well-being of these populations. Method: This study adopted a qualitative methodological approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with facilitators of dementia-inclusive singing groups or choirs in Ireland (n = 12). Results: Four main themes were generated inductively from the data using Thematic Analysis: accessibility of online delivery; online vs in-person delivery; importance of social connection; adaptability and resilience. Discussion: This study provides a mixed picture of opportunities and challenges arising from online music programmes. Initial evidence indicates the ability of facilitators to successfully deliver online music programmes to a proportion of people living with dementia and family carers and the capacity of members of these populations to engage with them. The findings support the development of sustainable online groups and resources to increase the accessibility of dementia-inclusive singing groups and support community-dwelling people with dementia living in rural and remote areas or with health or mobility challenges. However, challenges of digital inclusion exist. © 2021 GAMUT–The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre.
Impact of the pandemic from personal, professional and musical perspectives
Introduction Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in Europe early 2020, day-to-day practice in care homes has changed considerably. Common elements of music therapy – singing, physical contact, proximity – have become questionable. This study explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on music therapy provision and continuation in Dutch care homes. Method In December 2020 and January 2021 Dutch music therapists (n = 49) working in elderly care filled out an online survey on their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic during the first and second wave. Results Twenty different measures were deployed to adapt and continue music therapy throughout the pandemic. Music therapists were required to deploy social distancing, disinfect hands and instruments, and wear a face mask. Residents from different units were frequently unable to participate in music therapy together. Prevalent adaptations were to provide sessions in a common room (79.6%), in smaller groups (67.4%), for more (individual) residents than usual (65.3%) and to use pre-recorded playlists (65.3%). Music therapists experienced low stress and moderate to high hope, despite the substantial impact of the pandemic on professional and personal musical activities. Discussion Music therapy provision in care homes has repeatedly been subject to restrictions throughout the pandemic. By the end of the second wave, music therapy had been resumed in care homes, albeit with a range of preventive measures implemented in daily work routines. The pandemic shed light on adaptability of music therapy as a treatment and demonstrates that employer support is essential to enable music therapy provision.
Introduction In the wake of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns in the southern states of Australia, many community music and music therapy projects shifted to an online format. This paper discusses the formation and creation of four online music groups aimed at people with disability, including two groups for children and two for adults. The aim of the study was to explore the use of online technologies to support social inclusion and wellbeing when participants were physically isolated. Method This study positioned group participants as co-researchers to recognize the expertise many people with disability hold from being housebound or socially isolated. We adopted an action research framework in which participants provided ongoing reflections on the use of technology, access, musical foci and social interaction to iteratively develop the sessions through cycles of reflexive action. These data were triangulated with data collected through participant observation and individual interviews. Results The structured format of the sessions created online spaces for people with different disability, age and gender identities to explore their creativity together. Far from limiting participants’ autonomy and safety, the structured setting promoted their agency in decision-making and shaping the groups to meet their needs. Discussion Many participants interacted with the group or adapted to the online experiences in ways which the authors had not anticipated. While we were expecting our cohort to have expertise with social isolation, we found that they also had high levels of expertise as passionate musicians, which they used to frame the activities of the online gatherings.
Background: Established in 1959, the Viennese music therapy training course was one of the first in Europe. By June 2014, 506 theses were written by 440 graduates.Objective: To provide a full list of all theses, and to give an overview of research topics addressed, and methodologies used.Methods: Using descriptive methods, all 506 theses have been analysed in relation to categories such as types of subjects, research methods and scientific quality.Results: Besides surveys, interviews and literature reviews, the qualitative single case design has been identified as the most frequent research approach. Populations that were focused on the most were adults with mental health issues. The gradual diversification of internships across clinical fields within the training programme correlates with an extension in populations addressed in theses. A wider range of research methods also emerged over time.Conclusion: The increase of scientific quality reflects the academization of the profession in general. Fields of research that have rarely been addressed until now in music therapy theses in Vienna include paediatric psychosomatics, mental health in adolescents, family therapy, and music therapy self-experience.
Introduction: Prematurity is the primary cause of neonatal mortality in the world. Music therapy (MT) and music stimulation (MS) have shown to contribute to infant development and mother–infant interaction, in this context.Methods: This is a literature review of empirical studies, using MT and MS with preterm infants and their parents, published from 2010 to 2014. PubMed, PsycInfo and Lilacs were searched, using the terms “music”, “music therapy”, “singing”, “prematurity” and “preterm”. Twenty-seven articles were selected, which used MT (12) and MS (15).Results: Most of the studies (81%) investigated the effects of MT or MS on preterm infants, while just a few ones (5) investigated their impact on the mothers. Most of the studies (59%) provided interventions with recorded music. Results showed positive effects of MT and MS on the infants’ physiological and behavioral responses, pain relief, non-nutritive sucking and oral feeding. Moreover, the studies showed beneficial effects on maternal anxiety state and on breastfeeding.Discussion/conclusions: The results of the studies revealed that MT and MS are beneficial for both infant’s and mother’s well-being. Further research is needed to investigate the peculiarities and limitations of both interventions.
Background: World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) council will share highlights of work during the 2014–2017 term, while engaging the audience in discussion.Objective: To present an overview of the WFMT mission, projects, and global outreach. To gather input from attendees on how the WFMT can better meet its members’ needs.Content: While reviewing the topics of: (a) officer roles, commissions and projects, strategic plan, publications, role of students and (b) the World Congress of Music Therapy in Japan, 2017; presenters will elicit discussion and feedback on the future needs of music therapists in various countries. The roundtable will be chaired by the first author.Discussion: The growth of music therapy across the world has been exponential over the last 30 years. To meet the needs of a complex and varied group of professionals, the WFMT representative group seeks to disseminate information and listen to the needs of those whom they represent.
Background: One core element of the “Krems model of music therapy” focuses on an anthropological understanding of therapeutic processes. Ethnographic methods can help us with the interpretation of neuro-scientific research results and inspire us to ask novel questions. To achieve this, an intense self-reflecting process of the therapist and researcher is required.Objective: As a consequence, our research in the field of neuro-rehabilitation investigates not only the material interaction between brain and PET-scanner, but also the context-dependent situation-related interaction structures and the consequential subjective attributions of meaning by the persons’ acting.Methods: By comparing quantitative PET-Data with qualitative results of video analyses, our neuro-anthropological approach will be illustrated. Data from two cases of a recently published RCT-based pilot study will be presented.Conclusions: Combining anthropological methods like the ethnographic investigation with neuro-scientific quantitative data collection and behavioral measures can provide further understanding of what is really happening during personalized music therapy interventions.
Background: Microanalysis has grown from 2007 to 2015; first steps of automatization are done and first multi-cases-microanalyses are done.Objective: Workshop will present the state of the art. Afterwards, three groups will be focused in three microanalysis methods. Finally, perspectives will be discussed.Methods: Methods are a phenomenological-inspired approach, computational Music Therapy Toolbox (MTTB) and Improvisation-Assessment-Profile Autonomy-Micro (IAP-A-M). Unique to interpretivist microanalysis is the exploratory and multidimensional examination of the defined time frame of an episode and therapy event from a single session of music therapy and are much more detailed, focused, and comprehensive than normal case studies. MTTB enables extracting various musical features from clinical improvisation to be further interpreted. It is also possible to look at the musical interaction between therapist and client and to create a visual illustration on the improvisation for everyday clinical use. In IAP-A-M, continuous measurement of intermusical relationship in clinical improvisations is done.Discussion: Small group results will discuss strengths, limitations and objects of different methods.Conclusions: Microanalysis is currently applied in research. First assessment methods are developed.
Background: Historical research clarifies early transfer processes from reform movements through music and dance pedagogy into music therapy.Objective: The paper explains how the core qualities of reform movements – free improvisation, the unity of body, soul and mind, and the human right to free and non-censored expression – survived through Nazi terror after 1933 and still survive today.Method: Pioneer’s literature review and historical research.Discussion: Freud started to work with free association while Perls created the idea of working in the here and now. Modern dance students have been used to working with free improvisation for more than one hundred years. Music therapists in Europe use all three of these techniques.Conclusion: Pioneering teachers, who were famous protagonists of reform movements and were involved in psychotherapy and art education, transferred significant tools for music therapists.
Background: Claustrophobia and anxiety lengthen the duration of MRI scans by involuntary movements and expand the costs due to required anaesthesia. Music has an alleviative effect in this situation, but in related research music was randomly selected to reduce anxiety. In my thesis, I elaborate on the idea of using the gradient pulsation switching of the MRI equipment as a rhythmical ground to synchronize music with it. The hypothesis is music which is rhythmically matched to the MRI sequences or collected with the aim of relaxation has better relaxation ability than music that is randomly selected.Methods: An experimental research design will be used: one radio, one ambient-listening group, and one group listening a rhythmically synchronized music using Max 7 with comparison to a nonmusic group. Using State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Claustrophobia Questionnaire, Visual Analogue Scale the level of patients’ anxiety and claustrophobia before and after the MRI experience will be measured.Discussion: It is expected that the group with the relaxing music interventions (Max, ambient) will experience less anxiety during the MRI examination.
Background: As an Open Access journal, Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy has a profile and vision that highlights cultural and critical awareness as well as dialogic review processes. But how do authors perceive the relationship between the journal’s vision and its practice of reviewing articles?Objective: To examine how authors perceive review processes and how article reviewers and journal editors could contribute to expedient reviews.Methods: An author survey combined with collective, critical reflections among editors on review policies and practices.Discussion: Review processes need to be tailored to authors’ experience, intentions, and cultural/disciplinary background, as well as to the journal’s vision. These considerations imply that there are conflicts of interest in review processes that require negotiations.Conclusion: The feedback provided about what editors and reviewers could do differently can be categorised into three main areas. The largest category is of authors who are entirely happy with their experience of the journal, while there are also groups of authors who want faster reviewing and more dialogues in review processes.
Background: The shown receptive music therapy treatment is part of the Ph.D. project “Design of a manual-structured music-therapy treatment for depressed patients in a clinical setting” at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, tutored by Prof. Dr Eckhard Weymann, Hamburg (2nd tutor Prof. Dr Thomas Stegemann, Vienna).Objective: The clinical treatment is more and more influenced by economic needs. The given project focuses on the challenge to develop ideal conditions for the unfolding of music therapy effective factors concerning the treatment of depression.Methods: The point of reference is the hypothesis that depression and suicidality are culturally socialized mental behaviors. Therefore, special conditions for the self-experience during music perception are sought, by means of which culturally destructive attitudes and self-destructive learned opinions about oneself are neutralized.Discussion: This kind of treatment of depression assumes that the patient participates in an active way from the clinical admission.Conclusions: This treatment enables a focus on up to now non-heard dimensions in lifeworld and self-image and offers a common ground regardless to cultural differences.
Background: Currently, Europe seems to be on the move. Due to a variety of aspects (migration, exodus, etc.), European societies need to face specific challenges concerning culture, integration, education, healthcare, etc.Objective: The main aim of the presentation is to offer an idea of how music therapy can be integrated into an area that is “naturally” affected by processes of movement and migration: regular schools.Methods: The presentation derives its assumptions from a pilot study conducted at a primary school in Austria (mixed research approach; combined methods). The focus of the study lies on music therapy as a preventive and helpful support regarding the pupils’ self-concept, capabilities to bridge feelings and aspects of foreignness, etc.Discussion: The discussion may focus on the benefits of the pilot study and on comparable projects across the world. Furthermore, ideas of a subsequent trilateral research project, which is already under construction, shall also be introduced and discussed.Conclusions: Regarding Europe’s latest happenings, it ought to be every discipline’s responsibility to offer support and its specific expertise – and certainly, music therapy has got valuable competences to offer!
Background: In April 2015, three authors published a book in which 57 different music therapists from all over the world contributed a wide range of case studies where they used their first instrument. Instruments used included the clarinet, the accordion, the flute, the cello, the trumpet, the bassoon, the violin, the viola, the harp, the guitar, the trombone, the euphonium, the oboe, the saxophone and the double bass.Contents: This workshop will explore various practical ways in which different instruments may be used, drawing on information from our book. After each activity, we will reflect on the uses and characteristics of different instruments in music therapy practice. We will take practical considerations into account (such as size of instrument and hygiene when using wind instruments) and consider emotional issues that some therapists face when using the first study instrument they may also be continuing to perform on as a musician.Participation: This workshop will be limited to 20 people. Participants must bring their instruments to the workshop and be prepared to play in order to take part.
Background: Music therapy with persons with ABI is an important part of the complex rehabilitation process. While individual and group music therapy is commonly practised, music therapy in couples with a family member is less known. The paper will introduce my music therapy practice of working with couples when one partner is with ABI, including case studies and videos.Objective: My experience confirms that involving spouses or close relatives enhances the rehabilitation process significantly. This approach raises empathy and insight for the patient, enabling closer connection between the partner and the patient as well as profound understanding of the situation.Methods: Generally, the methods depend on the specific aim of the therapy. The most commonly used method is music improvisation with various musical instruments.Discussion: In music therapy with family couples, both sides are able to react to very subtle impulses. The music therapist mostly plays a supervisory and supporting role, working as an accompaniment for the couple.Conclusions: Music therapy is more efficient in couples where the two people know each other and are close to each other.
Top-cited authors
Katrina Mcferran
  • University of Melbourne
Friederike Haslbeck
  • University of Zurich
Christian Gold
  • University of Bergen
Even Ruud
  • University of Oslo
Randi Rolvsjord
  • University of Bergen