View of Research Overview of German Speaking Countries

[Original Voices: Report]

Research Overview of German Speaking Countries

By Monika Nöcker-Ribaupierre


This paper provides the first overview on music therapy research in Germany, Switzerland and Austria as reported by the heads of the different university music therapy programs in December 2012.

Three questions were sent to all university training course leaders. They were asked about a list of all research projects in their respective university including MA and PhD thesis – to summarize past and ongoing research projects and to name ongoing and future research projects in cooperation with other institutions, universities or clinics.

Keywords: music therapy MA and PhD programs, research programs and projects, Germany, Switzerland, Austria


For decades, doing music therapy research in a German speaking university was possible only through a doctoral thesis within disciplines like medicine, psychology, pedagogy, special education or musicology. Later in the 1990s special music therapy training courses were developed within universities, and from 1992 on, specific music therapy PhD programs started. Beginning with Frankfurt in 2003, after 2007 all university training courses had changed to BA and MA levels. Additionally music therapy research is included in music medicine institutions and basic research appears in the field of medicine, musicology, psychology and neuroscience.

It seemed important to me to integrate music medicine and neuroscience into music therapy research, because they provide a lot of necessary information and tools in understanding how music works in humans in different clinical areas and under different aspects.

Research in music therapy opens a vast field of research designs: quantitative research, qualitative research, mixed method research, evidence-based practice EBP, Randomized Controlled Trials RCT, research in cooperation with medical universities, research in cooperation with clinical partners, with international partners either in music therapy, musicology or medicine (For those interested in music therapy research: look at Barbara Wheeler’s second edition of Music Therapy Research, Barcelona Publishers.).

I would like to thank all my colleagues from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, who sent their information in preparation for this article. The challenge for this overview was how to condense and structure all the information.

I begin with the PHD programs, then present the different university programs and research projects related to them, and close with scientific research from other related disciplines providing relevant knowledge for music therapy research and practice.

PhD Programs

A former student from Augsburg, Eric Pfeiffer, collected the titles of all doctoral thesis and PhD´s in music therapy or in other disciplines with a connection to music therapy written in the past twenty years. His collection fills up about 28 pages (in summary 214 PhDs + 32 in progress). Details can be found on the Augsburg Website.

When looking at the titles mainly before the first music therapy PhD were written (1992) there have been and still are very interesting music therapeutic oriented doctorates integrated into other faculties like medicine, psychology, musicology, pedagogy and special education – all with the term “music therapy” and related to different topics, e.g.:

Diagnosisgeriatrics, dementia, depression, psychiatry, disabilities, problems in children’s development, aggression
ApproachesCreative MT, Regulative Music Therapy (RMT), Morphology, Tomatis method, Orff music, music therapy in relation to psychotherapy/ psychoanalysis
Related to medical parameterssedation, relaxation, anxiety, immunology, heart disease, cochlea implantation, tinnitus, retinopathy, brain liaisons
Focused on musical parametersmusical expression, special moments in music, rhythmicity
(see Pfeiffer, 2011)

Overview: Music Therapy PhD Programs in Germany

1992 (closed 2008, last PhDs are still in progress)University of Witten-Herdecke: Dr. rer.medic.Responsible: Prof. Dr. David Aldridge
1994 (closing in 2015)University for Music and Drama Hamburg: Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans-Helmut Decker-Voigt
2005University Münster: Dr. phil.R.: Prof. Dr. Rosemarie Tüpker
2008University Augsburg: Dr.phil.R.: Prof. Dr. Tonius Timmermann
2012University for Music and Drama Hamburg: Dr. phil.R.: Prof. Dr. Eckhard Weymann

From 1992 onwards there are increasingly PhD programs in the German music therapy trainings at universities with focus on special music therapy subjects. Some examples:

Music therapy practiceneonatology, infant research, comatose patients, dementia
Music therapy theoretic questionssymbolism, emotion, regulation, triangulation, counter-transference, therapeutic relationship
Music therapy techniquesdifferent aspects of improvisation, musical play
Historymusic therapy development in Vienna, Eastern Germany, Hungary
(see Pfeiffer, 2011)

Music Therapy Research Programs

A systematic meta analysis of music therapy research was published by Argstatter, Hillecke, Bradt and Dileo (2007), an article focused on the status of efficacy in research, the development and changes within music therapy publications world wide from 1950 – 2005. They found out:

The following research program overview on German speaking countries starts with Germany in alphabetical order.


Augsburg: Zentrum für Musik und Pädagogik an der Universität / University Center for Music and Music Pedagogy

Directors of the program: Tonius Timmermann – Hans-Ulrich Schmidt.

The Augsburg university started with a MA-program in music therapy in 2003. Beside the training course the directors are developing a comprehensive music therapy practice and research oriented structure, beginning with the “Research Platform for Music and Health” in 2009. This includes:

The Annual Workshop for Music Therapy Research, interdisciplinary networking
Collection of material:
E. Pfeiffer (2011): Summary of PhD (available on
Music Therapy-PhD program: procedure, colloquium
Networking with other international universities. E.g. Project: Music therapy in schools with Vienna and Zürich

In the future they will establish their own “Research Center” and an ”Outpatient Institute”.

In 2008 Augsburg established the third German PhD Program, which is linked to the faculty on Social Sciences at the Augsburg University.

The first PhD-project, which also has evoked international attention, is the research project “Music for violence prevention” by Andreas Wölfl. This project consists of a music therapy program including a pilot study, an evaluation study, and a qualitative process analysis. The program was developed and realized in collaboration with the Freies Musikzentrum München, and the research was done in cooperation with Innsbruck University. Today this program is developed as a structured music therapy program modified according to different school (e.g. primary schools, secondary schools, special educative schools) and is practiced by specially trained music therapists in schools and institutions in South Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Berlin: Universität der Künste / University of the Arts

Directors of the program: Susanne Bauer - Karin Schumacher.

The MA program started in 2007, following the music therapy “Diplom-Studiengang” (from 1988). There are some internationally acknowledged research projects: past, ongoing and future projects by the past and actual directors.

Past research projects by the heads of the training course:

Mechthild Jahn-Langenberg, Joerg Frommer, Wolfgang TressQualitative music therapy research in psychotherapeutic medicine and psychosomatic (published 1993)
Karin Schumacher, Claudine Calvet, Michael Hüneke, Peter KugelSynchronisation – a relevant moment in Music therapy (published 2008)
Susanne Bauer (in cooperation with Santiago/Chile)Voice quality in the therapeutic context (published 2010)

Ongoing Research Projects:

Susanne BauerVoice quality in the therapeutic context: Voice of music therapists and psychotherapists in relation to client‘s voice and to music. Focus: Awareness and experience of the voice sound, effects on own voice and mood.
Qualitative research: based on interviews.
Goal: To evaluate the effects on the therapeutic process and the therapeutic relationship
Susanne BauerSelf-regulation through music in extreme life situations (i.e. illness, abuse).
Qualitative research: based on interviews.
Susanne BauerMusic therapeutic interventions in group music therapy. Context: adult psychiatry. Evaluation of intuition and intention.
Goal: Development of a manual.
Karin Schumacher, Claudine Calvet and Silke Reimer“AQR-Instrument”: Analysis of a Long-Term Therapeutic Process to assess the quality of relationship.
Topic: Evaluation using the “AQR-Instrument”; development of speech and play; comparison of a 17 y. old boy's socio-emotional developmental age with his biological age.
Remark: AQR = Assessment of the Quality of Relationship

Future Research

Karin Schumacher, Claudine Calvet and Silke Reimer.
In Cooperation with the University of Bergen/Norway
Preparation of the material for an extension of the “AQR-Instrument” through a speech scale, which aims to assess the quality of relationship by analyzing the verbal expressions of children with pervasive developmental disorder in music therapy. Karin Schumacher, Claudine Calvet, Silke Reimer and Hans-Ullrich Balzer (Chronobiologist at Institute for Agricultural and Urban Ecology Projects at Humboldt-University Berlin): Comparison of Methods of Observation, Assessment and Measurement in “AQR” and “SMARD-Watch”.
Remark: The "SMARD-Watch", which was developed at the Berlin Institute for Research on Stress, measures vegetative parameters. Analysis of these parameters can provide important information about regulatory and synchronization processes in the interaction between child and therapist. The research project "AQR/SMARD-Watch” aims to link the results of video analysis with the “AQR-Instrument” with measurements taken with “SMARD-Watch”. The researchers collect data from one music therapy session with a child with a pervasive developmental disorder. The objective is to assess the relevance of the connection of these two methods of investigation for music therapy practice.

An International Exchange Program

After the Music Therapy World Conference in Seoul in 2011 Karin Schumacher and Eckhard Weymann started a new initiative: Development of an Asian-German- Austrian Working Group for Music Therapy. This is an initiative to promote intercultural translation issues. The first goal is to develop a glossary of music therapy key-words in order to facilitate translations into East-Asian languages.

Frankfurt:Fachhochschule / University of Applied Sciences

Director: Eckhard Weymann (this program will close in July 2013)

The first music therapy training program accredited in Germany was the one in Frankfurt in 2003. There were two research projects by Almut Seidel and students, the former director of the music therapy program.

Almut SeidelMusic therapy for oncologic men and women between curative and palliative treatment (published 2005)
Almut SeidelMusic – Biografy – Therapy: interviews with music therapy students to evaluate the conflict triangle of their professionalization (published 2008)

Ongoing Research Projects, to be Continued in Hamburg after 2013

Eckhard Weymann, Kornelia ZindelMusic Therapy for people with dementia: research and practice
Eckhard Weymann, Inga Auch-JohannesSound-bridges – music therapy with patients with dementia and their relatives at home
Hamburg: Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst (HfMT) / University for Music and Drama

Direktor: Hans-Helmut Decker Voigt (until 2010). Since 2010: Eva-Maria Bleckwedel - Eckhard Weymann.

In Hamburg in 1985 the first state supported university music therapy training program started under Johannes Th. Eschen as a part time Diplom-Studiengang (second degree).

In 1994: Beginning of the international PhD program (Germany, Estonia, Hungary), the best established German PhD Program (Dr. sc. mus.) at the University for Music and Drama Hamburg. At the same time the “Institute for Music Therapy” was established and chaired by H.H. Decker-Voigt. Until today 28 PhD thesis have been completed, 14 thesis are still in process. In 2015 this program will close.

Since 2012: a new International PhD Program (Dr. phil.) started. Although it changed from “Dr. sc.mus” to “Dr. phil.”, the new PhD program is still located at the same institution and the same faculty. Contact and chair: E. Weymann

A new cooperation research project with the Universitätskrankenhaus Eppendorf (UKE): Hamburg - Hamburg University Hospital,

Frank Schulz-Kindermann, Ute Hennings, Pia Preißler/UKE, and Eckhard Weymann/ HfMT)“Integration and Evaluation of music therapy with oncologic patients and their relatives in special outdoor treatment for psycho-oncology at the university hospital.” Goal: Integration of quantitative (evidence based) and qualitative research methodology
Heidelberg: Private Universität Stiftung Rehabilitation Heidelberg (SRH) / Private University SRH

Dean: Thomas Hillecke. Directors of the program: Alexander Wormit, Dorothee von Moreau.

The Heidelberg music therapy program started as a Fachhochschul-Diplom Studiengang (first degree, fulltime) in 1979. Then developed in 2004 into a BA and at the same time a new MA (research oriented), additionally in 2006 a practice oriented MA.

Music therapy research in Heidelberg has been well established since 20 years, based on reliable and effective cooperation with national and international partners. Research is an important part of the university’s outpatient departments and student’s trainings. Because of the integration of several fields like physiotherapy, dance and movement therapy and a post graduate training in children and adolescents’ psychotherapy, the university has the unique possibility to realize interdisciplinary research projects.

Something special for Heidelberg is the focus on treatment manuals as they are developed for chronic pain in adults and primary headache disorders in children and adolescents.

Ongoing and Starting Research Projects, Designed as Future PhD Projects

Julian Koenig and David KierspelMusic Therapy in the treatment of young people with depression (x)
Marco WarthMusic Therapy in Palliative Care () – to reduce the discrepancy between intuitively relevant acceptance of the effects of music therapy and scientific evidence to contribute to evidence based indication.
Barbara HeimMusic Therapy for premature infants and their parents : Mixed design of practical work with parents and infants to experience relaxed togetherness, and accompanying research to evaluate impact of music therapy interventions on the infant’s development and the parent’s wellbeing.
Marco WarthMusic Therapy in Palliative Care () – to reduce the discrepancy between intuitively relevant acceptance of the effects of music therapy and scientific evidence to contribute to evidence based indication.
(x) In 2011 this project was awarded with the Carlsson-Wedemann-Award by the Foundation German Depression-Support
Magdeburg: Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal / University of Applied Sciences

Directors: Susanne Metzner - Manuela Schwartz.

Madgeburg started in 1998 with a Diplom-Studiengang (first degree, fulltime). Since 2008 they offer a MA program. Music therapy research in Magdeburg is linked to the activities of Susanne Metzner, and is focused mainly on Music-imaginative Pain Treatment based on the empirically evaluated method „Entrainment“ by Cheryl Dileo & Joke Bradt.

As methods integrating music in therapy have gained an increasing importance in contemporary concepts of pain treatment, this method uses the structural and representational elements of music to modulate the individual pain experience. Integrated neurophysiologic studies permit predication of some of the mechanisms and the emotional-cognitive processes during music therapy.

Published research in this context includes:

Susanne MetznerMusic-imaginative Pain Treatment: Theory development of Music-imaginative Pain Treatment (published 2012)
Susanne Metzner, Fiona Rohlffs and Michael Hauck, , Andreas Engel (University Clinic Eppendorf, Hamburg)Interdisciplinary Research Project: The influence of music and music therapy on neuronal pain induced oscillations measured by multichannel Magneto-encephalography (y) (publ. 2013)
(y) Their data reveals that pain perception and processing in human subjects can be modulated by music, especially if there is a personal and subjective relation to the music. By using electrophysiological methods to gain data, the team could show which parts of the brain are involved during modulating processes of pain treatment.

At the present stage of evaluation this experiment already delivers the verifying evidence for the existing clinical evaluations and for further investigations in clinical settings (for this research Metzner was awarded with personal research award in 2011).

Research in Progress

Manuela SchwartzTherapy in Sounds – Insight into the History of Music Therapy during the 19. and 20. Centurys (publ. 2012)
Susanne MetznerTwo projects on Music Imaginative Pain Treatment
Susanne MetznerCreation of case-database for Music-imaginative Pain Treatment
Goal: development of manual including qualitative and quantitative data and audio recordings.
Susanne MetznerCompositional Processes during Music-imaginative Pain Treatment.
Method: transcription and phenomenologic/ hermeneutic analysis of audiorecordings during music therapy treatment
Susanne Metzner in cooperation with several German clinics (Berlin, Magdeburg)A prospective multichannel catamnestic study on music therapeutic pain management and rehabilitation for elderly patients within an interdisciplinary setting.
Susanne Metzner (cooperation with Halle, Leipzig, RegensburgCauses of attunement: evaluation of attunement processes in the beginning of music therapy with psychotic patients.
Münster: Westfälische Wilhelms Universität (WWU)

Director of program: Rosemarie Tüpker.

Münster started with music therapy in 1987 in the form of a postgraduate fulltime Diplom-Studiengang and in 2007 a fulltime MA program. The PhD program started in 2005, linked to the faculty of philosophy.

Areas for music therapy research in Münster are in the field of music therapy, musicology, philosophy in humanities and qualitative research methods, with the main focus on psychoanalysis and morphologic psychotherapy. Practice oriented research is completed by theoretical basics, questions about research methodology and psychology of music in daily life.

At the moment there are several areas of research in current PhD projects, most of them in co-operation with different universities and social partners.

All projects are chaired by Rosemarie Tüpker (see Tüpker 2009 and 2012). Some examples:

Practice and research PhD projects in process: With the help of music to language - projects to support language skills in pre-school children with and without migration. Different projects are published and /or still in research, or practiced and in ongoing research.
Divided time - Shared time: A study about timing in music therapy with autistic infants. Method: qualitative research and grounded theory.
The result of this study evaluated in cooperation with a research group in Utrecht is INTIME (timing in music therapy evaluation): a validated and reliable observation instrument to measure timing in musical interaction within the music therapy process

Other Areas of Ongoing PhD Research

Music and Age: Improvisation in humans with dementia, orchestra musicians getting older
Comparable studies: Around primary improvisation/ primary contact in different diagnosis
Music therapy in the non-clinical area: Special school projects, transition between school and early support, and other working fields.
Music Psychology – including psychoanalysis and morphologic psychology
Würzburg: University of Applied Science

Thomas Wosch.

In 2008 music therapy started to develop at the university of Würzburg as BA within Social Sciences, the MA program with the focus on developmental disabled and geriatric clients started in 2010. And since that time Wosch set in motion or realized several research- and development projects.

In cooperation with different national and international clinical and university partners (Kinderzentrum München, the Hospitals Erlabrunn and the University Hospital Magdeburg) and actually in a direct research cooperation with the Centre of Excellence „interdisciplinary music research“ with the Finnish Academy in the Universities Jyväskylä and Helsinki, following the basic and published research by Thomas Wosch.

Ongoing research topics, by Wosch alone or in cooperation with graduate students:

Music and emotion: Microanalysis, diagnosis of emotion in clinical improvisation, and Alexithymie
EXIST-Project MEM (MicroEmotionMusic). MEM provides a partial automatic test for music and music therapy and other areas, to analyse emotions and changes in emotions during music application. Future topic: the proof of validation of single practical and of economic questions. (z)
Pre-Post evaluation of clinical psychotherapy treatment in adult patients with psychic symptoms and Alexithymia in comparison to verbal, music therapy and mixed programs.
Continuing Microanalysis development and research: Microanalysis software and its technical development and validation, in cooperation with at least six European universities.
Significance of memorial songs for integration in Israel (coop. with Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv)
(z) The EXIST-Project MEM (MicroEmotionMusic) had been financed by the Ministry for Economy and Technology in Berlin.
Observation Manuals Developed in Germany

In Germany, there are two observation manuals with international attention. Both manuals are tested for reliability, evaluated and used in different clinical areas as well as in training settings.


Zürich: Hochschule der Künste / University of Applied Sciences

Directors of program: Sandra Lutz Hochreutener - Beate Roelcke.

At the University of Applied Sciences the first MA in advanced studies in clinical music therapy (part time) started in 2003, followed in 2006 by a MA of advanced studies in music psychotherapy. Additionally they offer a MA upgrade for music therapy practitioners. Past and published research:

Sandra Lutz-HochreutenerMusic play in music therapy with children. Mixed method research (2009)
Fritz Hegi & Maja Rüdisüli-VoerkelThe effects of musical elements. Mixed method research (2011)
Susanne Bossert & Joachim MarzThe effects of monochord on patients after brain injury. Randomized research study (2012 unpubl.)

Present Status of Training and Research

Multiple advanced MA- Studies in Clinical Music Therapy: Small research /pilot studies, qualitative designs in single case studies.

Future planning includes joint research with clinics for neuro-rehabilitation, psychiatry and co-operative research with Augsburg and Vienna: Music Therapy in schools.


Krems: IMC Fachhochschule Krems / University of Applied Sciences

Director of program: Gerhard Tucek.

In 2009 the Donau-University/ Fachhochschule Krems at the IMC (International Medical College) started with a BAs (=Bachelor of Science in Health Studies) at primary level and part time. In 2012 the university initiated, additionally, a consecutive MSc (=MA of Science in Health Sudies), also part time.

All ongoing research is coached by Gerhard Tucek.

The right time for therapy: view of patients, therapists and perspective of approach.
Neuro-biological topic: about activity of brain areas in MTBI (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury) patients to music and speech – and possible changes after long-term music therapy
Stress regulation and relationship – evaluated with Video, hormone parameters
Studies in Intensive Care: Neonatology and adults.

In 2014 Krems will be the main host of the Music Therapy World Congress .

Wien: Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst / Vienna – University of Music and Performing Arts

Director of program: Thomas Stegemann

Wien is the first university in the German speaking area to start with music therapy training: in 1959 a “Sonderlehrgang” (special training). Since 2003 they offer a “Diplom-Studiengang” ( The development of the structure for research is still in progress.

The existing structure includes:

Interdisciplinary platform for chronobiological research (Berka-Schmidt): Music effectiveness research within the therapeutic and educational area
International research project (Schrage-Leitner): The influence of music and music therapy on EEG-activity in newborns at risk (Vienna and Melbourne/Helen Shoemark)
First dissertation in music therapy by Monika Smetana: The return of the similar. Significance of musical objects in music therapy in adolescents with structural problems. (publ. 2012) Awarded a.o. with the Award of Excellence of the Ministry on Science and Research.
Research cooperation with the universities of Augsburg/ German and Zürich/Swiss universities: Music therapy in schools
Common publications in international cooperation (e.g. editing Special Issue of the Journal “Music and Medicine”)

Future Research Plans

Future research is based on the spirit and the tradition of the Vienna School of Music Therapy combining psychotherapeutic methods, techniques, and target groups with the focus on clinical adolescents psychiatry, art therapies for children and adolescents, neurobiological aspects of music and music therapy. Another interest is the history of music therapy in psychiatry (cooperation with Dr. Korenjak, University of Vienna). The main effort is on the development of a PhD-program (starting 2013/2014), as an “Outpatient Institute” and an “Austrian Research Cooperation”.

International Cooperation Programs – Clinical and University

As reported from Heidelberg (Thomas Hillecke), Magdeburg (Susanne Metzner), Würzburg (Thomas Wosch), Krems (Gerhard Tucek) and Vienna (Monika Geretsegger/Karin Mössler/ Christian Gold), some universities and individual music therapists are involved in international evidence based research – other universities mentioned cooperative research in their future plans. This is a very promising development which needs to be mentioned without going into details.

Related Scientific Research

It is important for the future of music therapy research to refer to some of the most prominent German speaking researchers in musicmedicine and neurosciences
MusicMedicine: Ralph Spintge and Vera Brandes
Neurosciences: Eckart Altenmüller and Stefan Koelsch


“Musicmedicine is the scientific evaluation of musical stimuli in medical settings, especially through mathematical, physical, physiological, and medical research, as well as therapeutic application, in order to complement traditional medical treatment, with regard to the particular illness, medication, and procedures involved in each individual case” (Spintge, 2010, p. 133)

Ralph Spintge, a pain specialist working in Lüdenscheid and Professor for MusicMedicine at the University for Music and Drama Hamburg, is the pioneer of MusicMedicine research and was co-founder together with Roland Droh of the International Society for Music in Medicine ISMM (

The goal of ISMM is fostering and confirming the use of music and musical stimuli as a preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative means in clinical medicine and health care in general and to provide a useful tool for music therapy.

In the last decade the ongoing scientific exchange triggered a series of collaborative studies and projects, both interdisciplinary and international. The studies, methods, designs and outcome were discussed on several dedicated conferences and published since 1986.

Chronobiologic Research program Austria/Germany/USA

Vera Brandes is the head of music therapy studies which are based on chronobiologic understanding and research. These studies use different music composed and recorded for different diagnoses. The composition-applied principles for the receptive music programs are based on the influence of music on the regulatory quality of psychophysiological parameters. The programs were designed to individually address hypersensitivity, depression and insomnia by influencing the autonomic imbalance.

Receptive music therapy for the treatment of depression: A Proof-of-Concept Study and prospective Controlled Clinical Trials (2010).
Music programs designed to remedy burnout symptoms show significant effects after five weeks (2009).


Research in neuroscience is fundamental for understanding music- induced processes in the brain and with this in physical and emotional reactions and manifestations in musicians and patients who are not musicians.

In Germany there are two outstanding internationally connected researchers:

Eckart Altenmüller, who is the director of the Institute for Music Physiology and Musician Medicine at the University for Music and Drama Hannover, and Stefan Koelsch, who is a Professor for Biological Psychology and Music Psychology at the Freie Universität Berlin. Both are excellent professional musicians: Altenmüller is a flutist and Koelsch a violinist.

Eckart Altenmüller: His subject is to show how long-term music training and associated sensomotoric skill learning can be a stimulant for neuroplastic changes in the development of the adult brain. Making music, singing, dancing, leads to a strong coupling of perception and action mediated by sensory, motor and multimodal brain regions. Altenmüller is researching the neurobiological understanding of how and why particular brain systems could be affected and how they could be influenced – e.g. musician’s cramp as manifestation of maladaptive brain plasticity. Currently he is conducting an EU-funded research project using piano training in stroke patients to improve fine motor control. Furthermore, an EFRE (Europäischer Fond für Regionale Entwicklung) funded project on real time sonification to improve control of arm-movements in stroke patients is currently assessed in the Hessisch-Oldendorf hospital.

Stefan Koelsch: His research is explains the neural basis of music evoked emotions and perception, on brain signature for semantic processing, on the correlation between music and physiologic effects like cardiac responses, or on cortisol levels during listening.

Besides numerous research articles both are going to publish an article in the next Oxford University dictionary, Oxford University Press (OUP), articles which could be of fundamental interest for music therapists.

Eckart Altenmüller & Gottfried SchlaugMusic, brain, and health: Exploring biological foundations of music’s health effect (in press)
Stefan Koelsch & Thomas StegemannThe brain and positive biological effects in healthy and clinical populations (in press)

Extended promotion of knowledge is available via the respective university websites and reports on conferences – conference proceedings, the websites of EMTC – WFMT – ISMM – IAMM, the print journals: BJMT – NJMT – J of MT – MT Perspectives – Australian Journal of Music Therapy - Music and Medicine, the Online journals: Voices - Approaches, and also via publications from other disciplines as medicine, psychotherapy and neurosciences.

Final Comments

As mentioned at the beginning, in international universities especially in English speaking countries, there is increasing quantitative research, qualitative research, mixed method research, evidence-based research, designs, research in co-operation with medical universities, research in co-operation with international partners in specific disciplines.

Also when looking through the research literature we find that there is a tremendous spectrum within the research methods grounded in the diversity of music therapy and music therapy research. I recommended that future researchers learn about the inherent different viewpoints and to use this knowledge for his or her own research.

I will close with some comments about or regarding international music therapy research.

If you go through international healthcare research you will find two key terms describing the state of the art in healthcare research: Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) and Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT).

Evidence-based practice is increasingly applied in order to determine what intervention should be funded, and can be understood as an approach to healthcare that promotes the collection, interpretation and integration of valid, important and applicable patient-reported, clinician–observed and research-based practice (Wigram, 2002).

Coming from the medical professionals, EBP is a filter system for decision making, to establish criteria both for investigating the efficacy of treatment and also for reasonable services (leading to Meta-Analysis and the Cochrane Reviews).

The international evidence-based healthcare movement strongly recommends the use of RCT as the principal means of assessing the effectiveness of a particular intervention.

Why? RCT is a research method in which the efficacy of a defined treatment is tested within a defined population. RCT is difficult for music therapists to design and to run successfully because of problems with replicability. Replicability is the prerequisite for medical standard of research (Ansdell, Pavlicevic, Procter, 2004)

One problem is for example that the content of treatment of each session and each patient varies when using improvisation. Also ethical problems could arise in dealing with control groups.

Wigram suggests three types of evidence to support music therapy as an intervention:

These remarks at the end should give directions also for music therapy research in our German speaking countries. These international standards provide the basis for professional acceptance in the healthcare system.

Extended research providing evidence is necessary not only for professional and political acknowledgement but also to support us to counter positive or negative narratives or anecdotes around music therapy.

This paper was presented at the Music Therapy Research Symposium, Augsburg, February 2013.


Selected References

Altenmüller, E. & Schlaug, G. (in press). Music, brain, and health: Exploring biological foundations of music’s health effect. Oxford University Press OUP

Ansdell, G., Pavlicevic, M., Procter, S. (2004). Presenting the evidence. Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Center, London.

Bauer, S., Tomicic, A., Martinez, C., Reinoso, A.,Schäfer, A, Peukert, A. (2010). Die Bedeutung von Stimme und Stimmklang im psychotherapeutischen Prozess aus der Sicht der Patienten und Patientinnen. In: P.Geißler (Hg): Psychpanalyse und Körper Nr 17, (9),2.

Brandes, V.M., Terris, D., Fischer, C., Loerbroks, A., Jarczok M.N., Ottowitz, G., Titscher, G., Fischer, J. E., Thayer, J. F. (2010). Receptive music therapy for the treatment of depression. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 79, 321-322. doi: 10.1159/000319529.

Brandes, V.M., Terris, D., Fischer, C.,  Schuessler M.N., Ottowitz, G., Titscher, G., Fischer, J. E., Thayer, J. F. (2009). Music programs designed to remedy burnout symptoms show significant effects after five weeks. (The Neuroscience and music III: Disorders and placticity). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1169, 422-425. PMID: 19673817.

Hauck, M., Metzner, S., Rohlffs, F., Lorenz, J., Engel, A. (in press). The influence of music and music therapy on pain induced neuronal oscillations measured by magnetencephalography. Pain.

Hegi, F., Ruedisueli-Voerkel, M. (2012). Der Wirkung von Musik auf der Spur. Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden.

Koelsch, S. & Stegemann, T. (in press). The brain and positive biological effects in healthy and clinical population. Oxford University Press OUP.

Langenberg, M., Frommer, J., Tress, W. (1993). Qualitative Methodik zur Beschreibung und Interpretation musiktherapeutischer Behandlungswerke. Musiktherapeutische Umschau 13(4), 258 ff.

Lutz-Hochreutener, S. (2009). Spiel – Musik -Therapie. Methoden der Musiktherapie mit Kindern und Jugendlichen [Music - play - therapy. Music therapy methods with children and adolescents]. Hogrefe, Göttingen.

Metzner, S. (2012). A Polyphony of Dimensions: Music, Pain and Aesthetic Perception. Music Medicine, 4(3), 164-171.

Moreau, D. v., Ellring, H., Goth, K., Pouska, F., Aldridge, D. (2010). Psychometric results of the music therapy scale (maks) for measuring expression and communication. Music Medicine 2(3), 41-47.

Petersen, P., Gruber, H., Tüpker, R. (2011). Forschungsmethoden Künstlerischer Therapien [Research methodology for art therapies]. Reichert-Verlag, Wiesbaden.

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