Effects of music therapy on functional ability in people with cerebral palsy: a systematic review

J Rural Med. 2022 Jul;17(3):101-107. doi: 10.2185/jrm.2022-014. Epub 2022 Jul 1.


Objective: This review aimed to investigate the effects of music therapy on functional ability in people with cerebral palsy. Materials and Methods: An electronic search of the CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and EMBASE databases was conducted. Randomized controlled trials that examined the effects of music therapy in patients with cerebral palsy were included. Results: Eight trials were eligible for inclusion in this study. We found a low risk of bias in random sequence generation and allocation concealment in all trials. The risk of bias in blinding of the outcome assessment was low in all studies. We found that music therapy had a significant effect on the Gross Motor Function Measure score (standardized mean difference [SMD] -0.42), Functional Independence Measure for Children score (SMD 0.38), and Goal Attainment Scale score (SMD -1.43). Music therapy had no significant effect on any of the other items. Conclusion: There is limited evidence that music therapy improves gross motor function and activities of daily living in patients with cerebral palsy. However, this was insufficient to allow for generalizable conclusions. Further studies with larger sample sizes are required to confirm the effects of music therapy in this population.

Keywords: cerebral palsy; disability; music therapy; physiotherapy; systematic review.