Music Therapy in Parkinson's Disease

J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2018 Dec;19(12):1054-1062. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2018.09.025.


Objectives: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic progressive neurologic disorder involving degeneration of the dopaminergic system. Its clinical manifestations include motor and nonmotor symptoms. Several nonpharmacologic therapies, such as music therapy (MT), have recently been developed in order to improve the clinical manifestations of this disease. The aim of this narrative literature review is to analyze the scientific evidence for the therapeutic effects of music in PD.

Design: We undertook a search in the databases of PubMed, PsycINFO, Scopus, MEDLINE, and Science Direct.

Settingand participants: Inclusion criteria were articles including persons with PD rehabilitated with an MT intervention.

Measures: Keywords used were music therapy, Parkinson's disease, auditory cueing, non-motor symptoms, motor symptoms, and quality of life.

Results: We detected a total of 27 articles, all of which analyzed the therapeutic effects of MT in PD. Of these, 20 studies analyzed the effects in motor symptoms (16 showed beneficial effects and 4, nonbeneficial effects); 9 studies analyzed the effects in nonmotor symptoms, 7 of which demonstrated beneficial effects; and 8 studies analyzed the effects on quality of life, with 6 reporting benefits. None of the articles analyzing nonmotor symptoms and quality of life showed negative effects.

Conclusions/implications: Most of the studies analyzed demonstrated that MT has beneficial effects for the nonpharmacologic treatment of motor and nonmotor symptoms and quality of life of persons with PD. The use of music as a therapeutic tool combined with conventional therapies should be taken into account.

Keywords: Music therapy; Parkinson's disease; auditory cueing; motor symptoms; nonmotor symptoms; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Music Therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Quality of Life