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Music Therapy

MyEbsco: Don't use your BACK Button!

Using MyEbsco to save artciles & searches to your folders?  Great, but use the navigation buttons on the Ebsco screens rather than using your Browser's BACK buttons.  Using your Back button may "unsave" some data from your folders.


Download this one-page guide to navigating the EBSCO databases effectively.  You'll be glad you did!

Some of Your Questions Answered

Can I copy large sections of books?

US Copyright Law prohibits library users from copying more than 10 percent of a book: there are also legal restructions on music, film and software copying. 

But here's the good news: In addition to copiers, we have DIY scanning stations to scan from our collection.  Please help yourself!


Where can I find music therapy journals in the library?

To find out which journals we own online and in print, the best tool to use is our JOURNALS search tool.  Click the orange JOURNALS tab on our website, or click here.

While not comprehensive, here is a list of journals that include the words music and therapy in their titles


I couldn't find some articles, which were put on the reference list of articles, on the database.

To locate specific articles in our databases, use the citation linker, found under the orange Journals tab on our website.  Or look up the journal using the Journals search tool.  When in doubt, contact the library.  We are here to help!


If I were to find relevant material in the database that is not available for download, how long would I have to wait after requesting the material?

There is no set time that I can offer, but most articles ordered via our ILLIAD stystem are received very quickly -- some within a day of making your request. 

Before you order, be sure to check the library catalog or Find It @ New Paltz to make sure we don't have the item in our paper collection. 





APA 6th Ed Errata


The New APA Publication Manual  (the 6th edition) requires a few small corrections.  An explanation of what they are, the corrections themselves, and many other helpful links are avalable at the APA Style's blog

Volunteering at Hospice, and advice on "finding nothing"

   "I am thinking about working with the volunteers at Hospice, studying some aspect of bereavement.  I will most likely make my own volunteer bereavement group and focus on one music therapy technique to work on with them to lower or enhance some aspect of the bereavement process. "


Sounds great.  You might want to decide whether you want to

  1. concentrate on families, or support groups, or
  2. consider ONLY a hospice setting, or
  3. look at MT viz. those "aspects of the bereavement process", independent of 1 and 2.  You could also
  4. Examine all of these aspects for your lit review (highly recommended) in combination

Your Search Might Look Like This


HAVE YOU SEEN THESE BOOKS from our collection??


  Your followup Question was: If there has been no prior research on my topic, where would I go to find sources for my lit. review, or how would I even decide what topic to cover in my lit. review?


Great question.  I'm not going to give my own advice instead of your professor's (you should ask her this question, really) but let me offer this:

A literature review is designed to tell you (and your reading audience) how your investigation fits into what others have done.  Ideally, Your lit review should concentrate not just on this particular setting and population and intervention, but should include other aspects that you find relevant.  In other words, don't just assume there is no published knowledge available if one search (say, on MT and hospice and Support groups) doesn't yield much.  It might take several searches to yield useful knowledge for your review.


AND by the way, be sure to search through numerous databases  -- Medline, Psycinfo, CINAHL, Socioabs, Human Services Abstracts. More databases means you cast a wider net!

African Drums and the Elderly

POPULATION : Depressed Elderly Patients living in nursing homes. Does African drumming help to elevate mood and decrease depression.


There's a lot going on here (not a bad thing, really.)  ElderlyNursing homes. Depression. African drumming.    What WOULD you do if you typed all of these into a database and found nothing?  Let's figure out how to do this:



At least when I use PsycInfo, I don't find much when I combine all the aspects of your search; doing the search in facets (e.g., elderly and drumming; MT and depression and elderly) will yiled mor ethan trying to combine all aspects at once.

Teachers and MT

" Will active or passive music therapy techniques be more effective in reducing stress among elementary school teachers?"

Active MT techniques = singing, chanting, drumming, etc
Passive MT techniques = music listening, music and imagery, lyric analysis, etc


Several directions to pursue here.

  1. Some books on Music listening from our collection.  Some of these might help, including a recent master's thesis!
  2. You might explore how music therapy (all kinds) has been used with teachers
  3. Are teachers significantly different than other adults?  Maybe, but if they're not soooo different, why not look for how active techniques and passive techniques have been used on other adult populations.  For example, in treating stress or burnout.  After all, do you predict there will be a substantial difference among teachers, compared to other populations?

Incidentally, after a found one or two promising articles, I started noticing other, related words, like "relaxation" and "depression" and "mood".  Notice how I incorporated them into the search, using OR.


Another Idea:  be sure to check our Education databases, too, like Education Research Complete and ERIC. 






"I am going to be working with children in the Autism Spectrum."

I want to work with children who are verbal but actually verbalize very few words,

perhaps 2 or 3. I want to take a technique that speech

pathologists use to develop verbalizations and see how music can build on that.


Questions, partly for my clarification:


  • Is the idea to take a speech patho technique that has musical underpinnings (e.g., mouth movements, rhythmic phonations) and use it, or to adapt a non-musical technique into a musical one??


Because your goals are more clinical, I've done your search in MEDLINE instead of PsycInfo.  you should still redo the search there and elsewhere, however.

Your search might look like this

A good test of your search would be to look at how many artcicles are about autism and music therapy.  THEN if there are a significant number, add words like Speech or Language. 

You might also consider exploring what music techniques are used with language/speech disorders, and then considering whether, given what you know about autism, any of those techniques would work with an autistic patient.




Agitation, dementia and Music Listening

"Is music listening more effective in decreasing indicators of agitation

more so than isolation across populations of emotional disturbed and dementia?"

We're interested in seeing the effects of a music therapy technique on agitaion.

Other options we considered involves staff training, and amount of time needed to decrease agitation.

We have looked at articles involving emotional regulation with emotionally disturbed and are trying to incorporate this in our research.


So there are several dimenstions to your lit review. 



Elderly Patients, and family members

Can music therapy facilitate a positive interaction between Geriatric

residents at a nursing home and their loved ones?
Family of the resident will have a sequence of visits, in which music therapy will be provided

once every two sessions, for a series of sessions.
So thats one session without music, followed by a session with music, and so on...
I am doing a follow-up study of one done last year with a similar population and question.
I will be observing the behaviors of the resident and his/her family members, and comparing

the intervention of music with no music in its effectiveness to facilitate a positive experience for the resident and family. 

 in its effectiveness to facilitate a positive experience for the resident and family. 


As I read your question, we first want to uncover what the nursing home resident and family member relationship is like. 

We certainly get far fewer results.  Be sure to do the search in other databases, like Medline, as well, to get more articles

I am interested in researching the effects of music, music therapy, and nutrition on physical and emotional health and well-being.

Fortunately, both "music" and "well being" are subject terms in PsycInfo, and so your search might look like this

Other terms that you might consider include



quality of life




Music Therapy and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Your question is especially interesting from a syntactic point of view.  By doing an initial search in Psychinfo on the phrase "traumatic brain injuries", I found that the database prefers (i.e., gives me more results) the term "traumatic brain injury".  I also got more results using the term "music" rather than the intervention "music therapy."  Your search might look like this

Note that in the results, there are several books or reviews of books.  Use our library's catalog to search for those books by title: if we don;t have them, please consider ordering them through our ILLIAD system. 

semantic versus syntactic musical processing in individuals with autism

Your question highlights several common research issues.

First, is what I call the comparison issue. It's tempting to type in "syntactic and semenatic" or "semantic versus syntactic" and thus quickly capture the articles that use only those two.  A fine strategy, but what if you don't get much in return??  I would recommend two separate searches, and then making a comparison between the findings for yourself.

Second is the question of whether "syntactic processing" and "semantic processing" are the terms used by the authors, and the database, to describe what you mean.  You may do a successful phrase search on either (remember the ""s!) but my preliminary search reveals that the more common terms are the more generic ones, thus


SEMANTIC* (the * results in uses of the terms semantic or semantics)

The third issue stems from the precipitous drop in results when you combine (syntax or semantic*) AND music AND autis*.  Once you look through the results of this search, consider removing a term, to see what kinds of relevent or relatable results you might find.

"I have two interests I am thinking of pursuing for my research topic: 1. The effect of the tempo of music on athletes performance 2. Music most often used/recommended by Music Therapists working in a NICU"

Both sound like interesting projects. 

In the case of "athletes' performance and tempo", the best term is "athletic performance".  When I combine that phrase with "music" in the PSYCINFO database, I receive these results. 

Two things to keep in mind:

Adding "tempo" yields many fewer results: while the appearance of  a word ( "tempo" for ex. ) in an abstract suggests its importance in the research study/article, the other articles that are about music but don;t use that word in teh abstract may also be relevant.  As  the mnumber of results isn't too unwieldy, I would recommend going with "music" instead, and then read through the abstracts to see if tempo may be an unwritten variable.

Because your search indicates for "preformance"suggests a physiological/physical outcome rather than a psychological one, Ii recommend you serach Medline and CINAHL rather than limiting your search to PSYCINFO.

There may be multiple ways to discover "the music most used..." by music therapists in a given context: querying a listserv; looking for music therapy books (Ebook Central (Formerly Ebrary)!! The STL Catalog!!) asking around at a conference, posting the question to a MT association facebook page... .  What I'm saying is that this becomes a research question when you begin to ask things like "What are some of the most effective techniques in  NICU music therapy?" Or "What are the factors that influence practitioners' choice of music in the NICU setting?"

But let's go with your question for now.  Two big recommendations:

  1. Search multiple databases.   (My search looked like "neonatal" AND "intensive care" AND music*).  I got these results in PsycInfo, but these in Medline, and these in CINAHL.  What differences do you see?
  2. Because you get relataively few results, adding an additional term like "music choice" doesn't yield very much.  So I would recommend looking through all these results and discovering patterns for yourself.

"Music therapy and cognitive development"

I assume that our population is children, so this opens up a range of possibilities if we search several databases, including ones in psychology, education, and biomedicine.

Doing the same search (music* AND "cognitive development") these are the results I received in

In this instance, I searched for "music" rather than "music therapy".  You can always use the latter term for more refined results.

I would like to explore the effect of music therapy intervention on social and communication for children with autism.

My search was music* AND autis* and social*.

First, Try the search in Medline.  use the MESH 2013 link to find the Scope Note (definition) of "social behavior".  Is this the term you mean?

Next, the PsycInfo search suggests "social responsiveness".  Use the PsycInfo Thesaurus to determine whether this is the right term for you.

What do we mean by "communication"?   It is a subject term in Medline, and when I search for it in combiniation with meuc therapy and autis*, I got these results.

Be sure to try the same search in PsycInfo, too. 

In this case, it would be good practice to do two separate searches, one on social ___ and one on communication, as I did above.

Group drumming for older adults. Whether an instructional or improvisational approach is more effective in creating participation or group unity.

Yours is a very specific research question:  drumming is a very narrow type of MT in tervention, group drumming still more narrow.   So it would do well to look at how many results one gets in Medline, PsycInfo et al before adding anything else to the search

Here is my result in Medline for "drum music" or drumming

And here is my PsycInfo result

From here, you could simply look through the results and note how they might fit togeteher:  which are about group/participatory music making, which are about the elderly, etc.  Just know that you'll be starting with a rather small results set, so adding additional terms will only further decrease the number of results.

Medical databases use a variety of ways to tag "elderly."  So I recommend pasting the following into one of the search boxes.  Can you guess what results it might yield?

aged or elderly or "very old" or gerontol* or geriatric* or "old age"

Given the small number of results, you might try some other databases, too, including ScienceDirect and ebrary

I would like to focus on the effects of music therapy on people with Alzheimer's. I have not refined my research question, however, I am interested in the psychological effects of singing familiar songs on anxiety, depression, agitation and orientation.

Some great starting points for research! 

Here are the results of a PsycInfo search to get you started.  You should do the same search in Medline and CINAHL

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Is it Alzheimers or Alzheimer or Alzheimer's?  Easily solved: type in Alzheimer*
  • Because anxiety, depression, agitation and orientation are different concepts, I've left them out of the search
  • Many databases don't tag the specific MT intervention (e.g., sining, or drumming).  While you may be able to find those words in the abstracts, you may need to casta broader search and read therough abstracts to look closely at et interventions,.  Or consider a varaiety of search words for teh intervention e.g. vocal* or song* or singing or voice