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How does a student music therapist, working within a multidisciplinary team, address the physical, communication and cognitive needs of two patients who have experienced a left hemisphere mid-cerebral artery (MCA) stroke? An exploratory case study

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posted on 15.11.2021, 09:33 by Robinson, Andrea

This case study describes a student music therapist’s experience in a rehabilitation ward working with two patients who had experienced left hemisphere mid cerebral stroke. Each patient’s individual music therapy sessions were documented during their stay in the rehabilitation unit and for a further two months in the community. A variety of music therapy methods were used which specifically targeted patients’ needs and capabilities. The research focused on methods used to support patients’ physical, communication and cognitive rehabilitation, because these are paramount in patients regaining their independence. The case study involved secondary analysis of data collected over a four month period.  Key findings suggest that music therapy, may have helped these patients with their speech retrieval. Improved gross and fine motor control was demonstrated in one patient using percussion instrument playing and keyboard mastery as the music therapy methods. Breathing exercises enabled phonation in a man who was non-verbal. Other findings suggest that singing familiar songs, listening to self-selected music and moving to music may have aided cognitive recovery in all of these areas. Although the psychosocial areas were not included in the study, both men looked forward to music therapy sessions and demonstrated improved mood when engaged in music therapy. Music therapy seemed to alieviate frustration and anxiety in the rehabilitation setting for one of the men. Further, family involvement in music therapy was positive for both men. This research suggests that music therapy could have contributed positively to the mens’ rehabilitation and further research focussing on the pyschosocial aspects of music therapy in this setting is recommended.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Music Therapy

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Music Therapy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music


Rickson, Daphne