Music Therapy in Museums

Music therapy is a form of therapy that is increasingly used as a form of therapy in all age groups, but also as a form of therapy for people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Listening to music, composing, singing and/or playing an instrument can help someone reduce stress, reduce the emotional charge, get into a positive mood, feel more relaxed and improve their sleep quality in general. In music therapy specifically, the therapist uses music to help patients with dementia improve and maintain their health.

Dementia is an acquired and chronic syndrome of mental disorder. It is a general term for the loss of memory, language and other cognitive abilities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. The purpose of music therapy for people with dementia is to direct their emotions, thoughts and memories. It can also affect their social interactions and behavior because music has a great physical and emotional impact on people.

Using music therapy in a museum as a form of therapy is somehow difficult, but not impossible.  Every person has a musical imagery, the recall of a song or a melody without it being heard in the environment that time. The most important thing is to use songs and melodies that fit the environment the patients are in. For example, when someone is visiting a museum about school life, it would help them hear sounds that will make them think about their school years and bring back childhood memories.

Although music therapy is increasingly used in many fields, it is still in need of research and practical use in other fields as well, such as museums. People with Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia should not be excluded, and we should try more therapeutic interventions for them.

Brechet, L., Michel, C. M., Schacter, D. L., & Pascual-Leone, A. (2021). Improving autobiographical memory in Alzheimer’s disease by transcranial alternating current stimulation. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 64-71.

de Witte, M., Pinho, A., Stams, G., Moonen, X., Bos, A., & van Hooren , S. (2022). Music therapy for stress reduction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Psychology Review, 134-159.

Kwak, K., Bae, N., & Jang, W. (2013). Music therapy with moderate Alzheimer’s disease in a long-term care center. Music therapy with moderate Alzheimer’s disease in a long-term care center, P880.

Lam, H., Li, W., Laher, I., & Wong, R. (2020). Effects of music therapy on patients with dementia-A systematic review. Switzerland: Geriatrics.

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