Articles for March 2013

Music Therapy and Autism

Friday, September 14, 2012  – Autism Speaks

Andrew Littlefield, MM, MT-BC is a music therapist and Assistant Director at The George Center for Music Therapy, Inc. in the metro-Atlanta, Georgia area. The George Center has served hundreds of clients in the Atlanta area, many of who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

As a music therapist, I have the opportunity to watch people of all ages and abilities connect and grow simply through the act of making and interacting with music.  Music therapy is a fast-growing, research-based field in which a board-certified music therapist uses music-based interventions to address non-music goals with their clients.

Some of the most exciting developments in our field recently have involved music therapy and autism.  Music therapy is a great fit with autism for a variety of reasons:

·     Music encourages social interactions

·     Music is adaptable to people of all abilities

·     Music is multi-modal and engages us across multiple domains (motor, communication, cognitive, etc.)

·     Music provides opportunities for success

·     Music therapy is adaptable to many autism treatment modalities (ABA, DIR-Floortime, SCERTS, and more.)

·     Music is FUN and motivating!

When I tell people I’m a music therapist, I get quite a few raised eyebrows.  With a job title like that, people are understandably curious.  You may have a few questions yourself. To help answer those, I’ve created this handy infographic that answers some common questions regarding music therapy and its applications with autism spectrum disorders!


Click here to view larger!

You can learn more about music therapy through the American Music Therapy Association, find a music therapist near you through the Certification Board for Music Therapists, or learn all about music therapy, tips, tricks, and more at The George Center for Music Therapy Blog!

Using the Fiddle in Music Therapy – Getting Familiar with…Audrey Morse


March 6, 2013


Audrey Morse is a music therapist at an inpatient psychiatric hospital in Midtown Manhattan. She holds a Master’s degree in music therapy from New York University. She began playing the piano when she was 7 years old. She is also quite experienced in playing the fiddle. She was required to choose an orchestra instrument in 4th grade. Her mother chose the violin for her. She played for a year before she saw Itzhak Perlman on television. At that point she realized that she wanted to be a violinist. She also played at Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony when she was 12.

Efficacy of Music Therapy in the Treatment of Behavioral and Psychiatric Symptoms of Dementia

Raglio, Alfredo MT* †; Bellelli, Giuseppe MD‡; Traficante, Daniela PsyD, PhD§; Gianotti, Marta MT*; Ubezio, Maria Chiara MD*; Villani, Daniele MD*; Trabucchi, Marco MD
*Sospiro Foundation
Alzheimer’s Evaluation Unit, Ancelle della Carità Hospital, Cremona
Interdem Group (Psycho-Social Interventions in Dementia)
Department of Psychology and Education Technologies Research Center, Catholic University, Milan
for Vergata University, Rome
Geriatric Research Group, Brescia, Italy
Reprints: Alfredo Raglio, MT, Fondazione Sospiro, P.zza Libertà, 2 26048, Sospiro, Cremona, Italy (e-mail:;
Received for publication May 7, 2007; accepted November 14, 2007


Background: Music therapy (MT) has been proposed as valid approach for behavioral and psychologic symptoms (BPSD) of dementia. However, studies demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach are lacking.

Objective: To assess MT effectiveness in reducing BPSD in subjects with dementia.

Method: Fifty-nine persons with dementia were enrolled in this study. All of them underwent a multidimensional assessment including Mini Mental State Examination, Barthel Index and Neuropsychiatry Inventory at enrolment and after 8, 16, and 20 weeks. Subjects were randomly assigned to experimental (n=30) or control (n=29) group. The MT sessions were evaluated with standardized criteria. The experimental group received 30 MT sessions (16 wk of treatment), whereas the control group received educational support or entertainment activities.

Results: NPI total score significantly decreased in the experimental group at 8th, 16th, and 20th weeks (interaction time× group: F3, 165=5.06, P=0.002). Specific BPSD (ie, delusions, agitation, anxiety, apathy, irritability, aberrant motor activity, and night-time disturbances) significantly improved. The empathetic relationship and the patients’ active participation in the MT approach, also improved in the experimental group.

Conclusions: The study shows that MT is effective to reduce BPSD in patients with moderate-severe dementia.

Efficacy of Music Therapy in Treatment for the Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

H. Fukui,1 A. Arai,2 and K. Toyoshima1
1Department of Education, Nara University of Education, Takabatake, Nara 630-8528, Japan
2Ongakunomori Nonprofit Organization, 1-12 Kobocho, Saidaiji, Nara 631-0827, Japan
Received 5 July 2012; Revised 21 August 2012; Accepted 26 August 2012
Academic Editor: Hiroyuki Umegaki
Copyright © 2012 H. Fukui et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We report that music therapy is effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. We found that the secretion of 17-estradiol and testosterone, hormones that are supposed to have preventive effects on Alzheimer’s disease, is significantly increased by music therapy. During the sessions, patients with Alzheimer’s disease were allowed to listen to music and songs with verbal contact from the therapist. It was found that problematic behaviors such as poriomania (fugue) had decreased. Music therapy has the potential as an alternative treatment for adverse hormone replacement therapy.