Experiences of Persons With Parkinson's Disease Engaged in Group Therapeutic Singing

J Music Ther. 2018 Jan 13;54(4):405-431. doi: 10.1093/jmt/thx012.


Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that leads to altered neural control of movement, including the control of voice, respiration, and swallowing. There is a prevalent need to provide therapy for voice, respiration, and swallowing difficulties because current pharmacological and surgical treatments do not effectively treat these impairments. Previous research has demonstrated that singing may be a treatment option to target voice, respiratory, and swallowing impairments, as well as quality of life. However, participants' perspectives related to reasons for enrolling and engaging in programs as well as evaluation of singing programs have been neglected.

Objective: The purpose of this descriptive study was thus to solicit participants' views of their involvement in a group singing intervention (GSI) led by credentialed music therapists.

Methods: Twenty persons with PD were interviewed 4 to 6 months after completing the singing intervention. Participants were asked about 1) why they chose to participate, 2) what were the beneficial and non-beneficial aspects of participating, and 3) how to improve overall design and delivery of the GSI.

Results: Using content analysis procedures, we learned that participants regarded their involvement in the study as mutually beneficial, fun, and engaging. Participants appreciated the fellowship with other persons with PD and offered minimal constructive criticism.

Conclusions: This study provided greater insight into how a therapeutic singing program may benefit participants and positively impact their lives.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; qualitative research; quality of life; singing.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Singing
  • Voice