Neurobiological Aspects of Neurologic Music Therapy

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      Amelia Ballak

      Title: Neurobiological Aspects of Neurologic Music Therapy

      Authors: Eckart Altenmüller and Gottfried Schlaug

      DOI: 10.1177/1943862113505328

      Citation: Altenmüller, E., & Schlaug, G. (2013). Neurobiological aspects of neurologic music therapy. Music and Medicine, 5(4), 210-216.


      Making music is a powerful way of engaging multisensory and motor networks, inducing changes within these networks and linking together distant brain regions. These multimodal effects of music making together with music’s ability to tap into the emotion and reward system in the brain can be used to facilitate therapy and rehabilitation of neurological disorders. In this article, we review short- and long-term effects of listening to music and making music on functional networks and structural components of the brain. The specific influence of music on the developing brain is emphasized and possible transfer effects on emotional and cognitive processes are discussed. Furthermore, we present data on the potential of music making to support and facilitate neurorehabilitation. We focus on interventions such as melodic intonation therapy and music-supported motor rehabilitation to showcase the effects of neurologic music therapies and discuss their underlying neural mechanisms.

      Keywords: brain plasticity, melodic intonation therapy, music-supported training, neurologic music therapy, neurorehabilitation

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