Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Donna C. Owens


This review of the literature focuses on the benefits of music and music therapy for persons diagnosed with dementia. A summary of the role of music therapy is given and compared to the Music & Memory program. The question is whether it is fair to call the latter music therapy when assessments are carried out by individuals not qualified in music therapy, but trained in the Music & Memory program. The consequence of the lack of knowledge of this distinction is inconsistent communication which misleads stakeholders about the role of music therapy in healthcare. In my experience through volunteering in the Music & Memory program, I realized that there is a need to distinguish between what is music therapy and what is personalized recorded music listening. The focus of this paper will be on whether Music & Memory can be called “personalized music therapy” or if it is just therapeutic music. This will be done through a comprehensive literature review primarily focusing on the use of music with dementia patients. In order to establish a clear delineation between music therapy and Music & Memory, the aim will be to examine the two in terms of the history, populations served, key components, and practitioner qualifications. Secondly, the paper explores the definition of dementia, the role played by music therapy and Music & Memory in dementia treatment, and finally where music therapy and Music & Memory diverge and overlap.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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