Active music therapy and Parkinson's disease: methods

Funct Neurol. Jan-Mar 1998;13(1):57-67.


Music therapy (MT) is an unconventional, multisensorial therapy poorly assessed in medical care but widely used to different ends in a variety of settings. MT has two branches: active and passive. In active MT the utilisation of instruments is structured to correspond to all sensory organs so as to obtain suitable motor and emotional responses. We conducted a prospective study to evaluate the effects of MT in the neurorehabilitation of patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD), a common degenerative disorder involving movement and emotional impairment. Sixteen PD patients took part in 13 weekly sessions of MT each lasting 2 hours. At the beginning and at the end of the session, every 2 weeks, the patients were evaluated by a neurologist, who assessed PD severity with UPDRS, emotional functions with Happiness Measures (HM) and quality of life using the Parkinson's Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire (PDQL). After every session a significant improvement in motor function, particularly in relation to hypokinesia, was observed both in the overall and in the pre-post session evaluations. HM, UPDRS-ADL and PDQL changes confirmed an improving effect of MT on emotional functions, activities of daily living and quality of life. In conclusion, active MT, operating at a multisensorial level, stimulates motor, affective and behavioural functions. Finally, we propose active MT as new method to include in PD rehabilitation programmes. This article describes the methods adopted during MT sessions with PD patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires