Human responses to music may be viewed through a neuroscience lens with increasingly sophisticated neuroimaging technology, providing neurological and biomedical measures of psychological states. These developments have been harnessed in collaborative research investigations seeking to develop the therapeutic applications of music. As a consequence of these collaborations, neuroscientific understanding is emerging of how music therapy may support improvements in cognition, movement and emotional regulation, as well as helping us to explore the neurological aspects of therapeutic relationships. This paper provides an overview of this field of investigation, focussing on the significant areas of progress in work with those living with stroke, neurodegenerative conditions, affective disorders, disorders of consciousness, autism, cancer and palliative conditions. Advances, challenges and opportunities associated with using neuroscience methods to develop the evidence base for music therapy will be explored from the perspective of a music therapy clinician and researcher.
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