How Music Therapy Can Help You Live Well with Parkinson’s

Music Therapy - Davis Phinney Foundation

Music therapy can help people living with Parkinson’s improve motor function, express creativity and connect with others in their community. It can help increase stride length, minimize freezing of gait and improve posture, swallowing and breathing.

We recently sat down with Stephanie Kleba and Jessica Pouranfar, Board Certified Music Therapists, to talk about the value of music therapy for people with Parkinson’s and how easy it is to get started. They also share exercises you can start doing right now from the comfort of your car, home or wherever you are.

Here are some of the questions they answered:

  • What is a music therapist?
  • Generally, how can music therapists and group classes help people with Parkinson’s?
  • What are the specific symptoms music therapy can help?
  • Do music therapists work with people with Parkinson’s one-on-one or in a group?
  • What does a Parkinson’s music therapy class involve? 
  • What makes music therapy/rhythm so effective?
  • What does the research say about music therapy?
  • What are some of the biggest objections you get from people when they first begin?
  • How long do people need to come to music therapy classes in order to see the benefits? Do the benefits fade once they stop coming?
  • What are some of the best success stories you have?
  • Can you share a few exercises that people can do at home to get a little taste of what a music therapy class might involve?

More Resources

American Music Therapy Association – Look here to find a qualified therapist in your area.
How Music Helps to Heal the Injured Brain: Therapeutic Use Crescendos Thanks to Advances in Brain Science By Michael H. Thaut, Ph.D., and Gerald C. McIntosh, M.D.
Effects of singing on voice, respiratory control and quality of life in persons with Parkinson’s disease by Elizabeth L. Stegemöller, Hollie Radig, Paul Hibbing, Judith Wingate & Christine Sapienza
Dr. Michael H. Thaut, the Father of Neurologic Music Therapy
Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo


Our YouTube channel includes videos on a variety of topics from a series on care partners with Connie Carpenter-Phinney to Ask the Parkinson’s Expert to our series of webinars. Be sure to check out more of our videos here, and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel for more current information on how to live well with Parkinson’s.

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