3/21/24 Grand Rounds

Music Therapy: Looking Back, Moving Forward


Sandi Hammond, BA
Vocalist, Choral Director, Teacher;
Music Therapy/LMHC Graduate Student

What we know of as music therapy in contemporary medical settings here in the U.S. began in the 1940’s in veterans hospitals, with the first formal college training offered at Michigan State University around the same time. Yet music has provided a therapeutic purpose in cultures all over the world for centuries. The first known human-made instrument, a wooden flute, was made 60,000 years ago. Evolutionists now believe we likely sang before we spoke. What else does evolution tell us about the role music can play in medicine? How is the definition of music therapy evolving today, and how is music used today in inpatient and outpatient settings? The functional MRI, which was first used in 1990, has been a game changer in capturing brain activity in response to music- listening to it, creating it, sharing it with others. Music therapy may be experiencing a “golden moment” according to former NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. Neuroscience, technology and ongoing research continue to inform and advance successful applications of music to help patients.

Learning Objectives:
    1. Define music therapy and summarize its history.
    2. Give examples ways in which music therapy can be utilized in medical and mental health settings.
    3. Describe current advances in research, neuroscience and technology that advance the field.