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

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Hurt, Tera
Shirley, Margaret
Camp, Randie
Pattee, Jenna
Williams, Ebony
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KinesiologyHuman Development and Family Studies

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.


This accepted article is published as Elizabeth L Stegemöller, PhD, MT-BC Tera R Hurt, PhD Margaret C O’Connor, BS Randie D Camp, MS Chrishelda W Green, BS Jenna C Pattee, BS Ebony K Williams, MS; Experiences of Persons With Parkinson’s Disease Engaged in Group Therapeutic Singing. Journal of Music Therapy, Volume 54, Issue 4, 30 December 2017, Pages 405–431, DOI: 10.1093/jmt/thx012. Posted with permission.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2017