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Current Research Project Requests

Title: Telehealth music therapy on clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

You are invited to participate in a survey on the effects of telehealth music therapy on clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This study comprises part of the PhD dissertation work of Nicole Richard from the Music and Health Science Research Collaboratory (MaHRC) at the University of Toronto. The survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete, and will remain open until December 10th, 2020.

Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/asdtelehealth

Title: The impact of COVID-19 on the ongoing benefits of Music Therapy

Author: Abigail Hall
Email: ahall9@sheffield.ac.uk
Institution(s): University of Sheffield

Description: I would like to research the benefits of Music Therapy, and how this has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. I will be interviewing different Music therapists about their work and how this has had to adapt to the pandemic. For those in the Sheffield area, I would also like to participate/shadow therapy sessions, for either physical or mental health conditions, to see first- hand how this therapy assists clients and how it looks now after a pandemic. The interview/volunteering information will be collated into an informative website.

Title: Non-digital interventions on mental health provision, specifically in resource constrained settings

Author: Amy Davies
Email: ardavies2@sheffield.ac.uk
Institution(s): Zink, the High Peak Food Bank and Derbyshire Council

Description: My name is Amy Davies and I am a second year student at the University of Sheffield studying Applied Social Science with Politics. I am currency working alongside Zink, The High Peak Food Bank and Derbyshire Council to produce a research project and recommendations into non-digital mental health interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic. One focus point for my research is music therapy and the ways in which this can be provided to those in need non-digitally and within resource constrained settings. It would be really helpful to speak to anyone within any organisation about the ways in which you have altered your provisions of mental health resources due to the pandemic, as well as how your resources are being provided to those in need who are from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Title: A phenomenological investigation into music therapists’ experiences of working in the field of adult mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Author: George Chandler
Email: 18010133@qmu.ac.uk
Institution(s): Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Description: For the dissertation component of my Music Therapy Masters, I am looking to interview 1-3 music therapists about their experience of working in the field of adult mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the novel nature of COVID-19, I believe it is important to learn about the lived personal experience and thoughts of music therapists in their practice during this period. To explore this lived experience, I will be using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) as my methodology. This will involve in-depth semi-structured interviews over a secure online platform that is mutually agreed. These interviews may last up to an hour and will be audio recorded. These audio recordings will be deleted upon transcription and any identifiable information, such as names or places, will be replaced with pseudonyms in the transcription. Each participant will have their interview transcription sent to them in order for them to approve of the content before data analysis. The transcript data will then be analysed using the steps in IPA. his includes the identification of themes in the individual interviews and then connecting these to themes from the other interviews. The data generated will provide valuable insight as to what it is in essence to be a music therapist working in the field of adult mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this process of reflecting on music therapy practice, it may also foster further self-insight in the music therapists who take part. Ethical approval has been granted from Queen Margaret University. More details can be found in the participant information sheet – please contact me directly for this.

Title: A call for participants with min. 2 years of experience in CVA-rehabilitation for an international, online focus group discussion

Author: Rita Kárpáti
Email: rkkarpati@codarts.nl
Institution(s): CodArts University of the Arts, Rotterdam

Description: Applied analogy - Exploring the role of musical elements in the clinical assessment of cognitive functioning in CVA-rehabilitants


Stroke survivors have to cope with an array of complex disabilities as a result of their condition. In modern neuro-rehabilitative facilities Music Therapy is often required to support their functional rehabilitation as a part of a multi-disciplinary team. Cognitive rehabilitation is one of the most salient treatment goals. To satisfy the norms of evidence-based practice, accurate observation and assessment of client functioning and progress is required. While there is a substantial body of inter-disciplinary literature discussing why and how active music-making influences cognition, much less is known about how cognitive symptomatology manifests in the musical elements played by stroke patients. Based on clinical observations and previous research with related client groups, an analogy between these two phenomena is hypothesized.

Using a qualitative, grounded theory design data from experienced music therapists working with the client population will be collected and analysed, exploring their thinking processes and strategies for obtaining and interpreting diagnosis-related data from patterns of musical elements found in their clients’ playing. The goal of this study to contribute to a possible theory of analogy specific for this client group, rooted in real-life clinical practice.

Title: Benefits and Drawbacks to Telehealth Music Therapy for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Survey Study

Author: Nicole Richard
Email: nicolem.richard@mail.utoronto.ca
Institution(s): University of Toronto

Description: Background: This study will survey music therapists worldwide regarding their experiences of the challenges and benefits of telehealth delivery of music therapy for clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, health professionals worldwide transitioned from in-person therapeutic services to online formats. Previous studies have investigated the impact of telehealth on music therapy practice in general; however, no studies have investigated how telehealth music therapy impacts clients with ASD in particular.

Objectives: The objectives of this study are: 1) to determine what factors are associated with higher retention of clients with ASD over telehealth; 2) to delineate the challenges and benefits of practicing music therapy with clients with ASD over telehealth; 3) to determine how caregiver involvement impacts the success of telehealth services to clients with ASD; 4) to ascertain whether training as a neurologic music therapist gives any advantage over traditional music therapy in terms of client retention in telehealth; 5) to know which benefits of telehealth for clients with ASD can and should be maintained when in-person services resume; and 6) to gather preliminary data regarding whether certain clients with ASD may benefit particularly from telehealth music therapy over in-person music therapy.

Methodology: In this cross-sectional study, we hope to survey from thousands of music therapist therapists worldwide who work with clients with ASD. We are hosting the survey via the online platform Survey Monkey. The survey contains 45 questions with sections including demographics, perceptions of telehealth, effects of COVID-19 on clinical practice, caregiver involvement, and implications for future practice. Questions consisted of 44 closed-ended questions, and one open-ended question, to be analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. This study has been approved by the Research Ethics Board at the University of Toronto.

Conclusions: Results from this survey will provide insight into the ways that individuals with ASD can benefit from online delivery of therapeutic services, with implications for music therapy and related fields. The potential identification of positive benefits of telehealth therapy for clients with ASD would indicate that telehealth services should be made available to clients in remote areas who do not have access to in-person therapeutic services. Themes identified in this study on telehealth music therapy may have relevance for other fields serving clients with ASD. Ultimately, our study will provide concrete suggestions on how to leverage technology, caregiver involvement, and other positive results of telehealth to maximize the benefits of supportive therapies which serve individuals with ASD.
Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/asdtelehealth

Title: An exploration of the perceptions of music therapists working with couples affected by dementia where one party lives in a care home

Author: Rachel Shurmer
Email: Rachel2.Shurmer@live.uwe.ac.uk
Institution(s): University of West of England

Description: My name is Rachel Shurmer and I am a music therapy postgraduate student in the Department of Health and Social Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol. I am completing this research for my MA in Music Therapy dissertation project. My research is supervised by Dr Catherine Warner

This project will involve exploring the perceptions of music therapists about key issues arising from music therapy they have conducted with clients living with dementia and their partners, where the person living with dementia is resident in a care home and their partner lives at home. This research is important, as relational challenges for couples where one partner with dementia resides in a care home and the other in the community is an area that is known less about than the scenario where both partners live together in the community. However, there are issues that are specific to partners becoming separated in this way (Hennings and Froggatt, 2019)

Music therapy can be helpful for people with dementia and has been used to support couples separated in this way (Freeman, 2017)

It is hoped that research could contribute to discussions on whether music therapy has the potential to be a viable and helpful intervention for couples seperated in this wa; reflect knowledge and experience of music therapists, highlighting therapists' lived experiences of both challenges and benefits when working with these couples.

One to one qualitative interviews will be conducted between the researcher and up to ten participants (music therapists) over Skype or by telephone over a speaker. Thematic analysis will be employed for analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006).

Title: Medical Music: In what ways is music used in the context of health? A medical anthropological perspective on music as a modality in the arts health field.

Author: Talisa Wilson
Email: talisawilson@hotmail.com
Institution(s): Durham University

Description: The aim of this study is to investigate the ways in which music is used in the context of health. I want to research music as a modality in the arts health field. I will address the roles and methods of music therapists and practitioners in alleviating health problems, the therapeutic properties of music, and whether music as an alternative framework of medicine enables us to think differently about health and treatment of mental and physical illness.

Title: Raising awareness and providing information about Music therapy, especially during the current pandemic

Author: Abigail Hall
Email: ahall9@sheffield.ac.uk
Institution(s): University of Sheffield

Description: This project is based around raising awareness and providing information about Music therapy to a new/wider audience. Due to the stresses of the ongoing pandemic, the need for creative therapies such as Music therapy are being more recognised. As well as looking into how Music therapy has had to adapt with the pandemic.

This project aims to:

- To provide information about the different forms of music therapy in different institutions
- To learn how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted music therapy for both the therapists and clients
- To share the different practices and inspire others to employ music therapy as a means to physical and mental wellbeing, in an informative video and website

The project procedure will be as follows, and you may consent to as much as you wish on the attached consent form:

Online interview:

Using a series of fixed and open-ended questions, I wish to understand your working methods. I will ask questions such as 'How long have you been a music therapist, and what is your speciality?'. I will ask you to document a session plan (and provide me with one if you are willing), and investigate how therapists have adapted your sessions due to the pandemic. I wish to document anonymous case studies to investigate success stories. Finally, to highlight the importance of music therapy, I seek to understand your motivation by asking the question: 'What does Music Therapy mean to you?'.

This interview will be carried out virtually on Zoom. It will be recorded, but you can remain anonymous by your recording not being directly used, if you so wish. It should last no longer than half an hour, and will be carried out around your availability before Christmas.

Participating in sessions:

If I am able to attend a session online or in person, COVID-19 allowing, I would love to be present to see first-hand the kind of work you do. This would either be online anytime before February or in person later on, depending on COVID-19 restrictions. I would ask if I could film parts of the session to also be included in the end video. All faces will be avoided by the camera or blurred in post-processing to keep intact confidentiality for the clients.

How your data will be used:

I would like to use your voice and direct words from the recorded interview to structure the 5 minute video and reinforce the research about music therapy that informs the website. It would be amazing if you could directly tell the video audience how your work is done and has been impacted, but only if you wish. I will record voice-overs instead if that has your preference.

The confidential footage from sessions would be used as background for the video as well, with your voice (or mine) over the top. It will highlight how COVID-19 has impacted your work, and a conclusion on why it is important to raise awareness for this therapy. The video will be sent back to you to make sure that you are comfortable with what has been included and the end result of the video.

The video and other sourced research will be posted on an informative website, including a chance for your work/organisation’s information and contact details to be displayed, only if you wish. There will also be a contact form if people wish to provide feedback or request to share the video. The website and video will be published no later than April 2021.

Title: How can music be used as a tool to aid mental health issues?

Author: Louise Barrett
Email: louisbbarrett@outlook.com
Institution(s): Central Saint Martins

Description: Whether it directly or indirectly, the social isolation, prolonged periods of lockdown and various restrictions and lifestyle changes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have had a severely damaging impact on people’s mental health. with access to critical mental health services being either disrupted or halted in 93% of countries worldwide, the options for help are even less available.

With people turning to alternative treatments, music therapy has been proven to be an effective method for treating various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. engaging with music helps us connect with our self and others, and can have a powerful emotional and spiritual impact.

I want to explore how music can be used as a tool to aid mental health problems, through the medium of a product.