An exploration of the role of movement in music therapy with an older person with dementia.
The role of movement in several creative arts therapies are frequently studied, yet movement and gesture and their effects on music therapy remain unclear. This is particularly pressing for clinical populations with verbal communication challenges. Despite research into the role of movement in music therapy being undertaken in an array of other client groups, there is a paucity of research for people with dementia who have pronounced verbal communication difficulties. Accordingly, this project explores the role of movement in music therapy for both the therapist and participant through a single case study of a person living with dementia. By participating in multiple sessions of music therapy and recording video footage combined with interpretative phenomenological video analysis (IPVA), this study examined closely the means by which movement and gestural expression modulate music therapy and the relationship between therapist and participant. Three critical themes were discovered to be pertinent to movement and music therapy: holding, communicating through cues, and subjective relationships. This, the current author argues, supports mother-infant interaction holding theories, promoting communication in music therapy for those challenged by verbal modes, and facilitates a healthy therapeutic relationship between the therapist and participant. Here it is concluded that although music is the primary medium in music therapy, based on mother-infant relationship theory and the results of this project, a thoughtful blend of movement with music can significantly enhance communication and the potential to negotiate interpersonal connection