Utilizing Technology to Enhance Our Understanding of Music Therapy’s Effect of Motor Movement and Sequencing Rachael Regina Mackay, MCMT

This paper has arisen from a concern and a general agreement within the literature about the Alice-in-Wonderland world of the evaluation of music therapy’s effect, where aesthetic beauty, inspiration and spirituality often bedazzle (Streeter, 2010, p. 35). This paper will explore the efficacy of computer aided music therapy practice, in evaluating the music therapy goals of; increasing gross/fine motor movement and sequencing. The monitoring and evaluating of music therapy’s impact on increasing motor movement and sequencing is extremely complex, the complexity of our hands alone is a perfect example. There are 27 bones, 34 muscles, 48 nerves, and 19 joints in each hand of the human body. A quarter of the motor cortex in the human brain (the part of brain which controls all movement) is devoted to the muscles of the hands. Despite the impact we may see as music therapists it is no longer sufficient to merely neither observe nor believe that music therapy makes a difference. As professionals we need to justify our practice quantifiably through the use of technology, in an aim to inform the procedures/methods music therapists use. The author, a music therapist with a sound design background, will describe examples of existing and original technologies currently being trial in her own practice. These include; an assistive device in the form of an interactive pool noodle that is being used in an exercise program at a nursing home. The device has been built in collaboration with an occupational therapist in an aim to motivate and increase gross motor movement amongst residents while simultaneously providing data to track the increase/decrease of movement. This paper will also address and describe an array of technologies for evaluation of fine motor movement and sequencing. This will include current results from software that captures quantitative data of piano playing and sequencing in the rehabilitation of fine motor skills.

Rachael Mackay is a technophile music therapist. Full time music therapist at Nordoff Robbins. Completed her Master of Creative Music therapy in 2016 with an undergraduate in music and honors in sound design. She has specialized training in electronics and audio and is highly passionate about the efficacy of technology and the benefits it has to offer music therapy practice.

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