The Singing Unit: A Music Therapy Pilot Study in a UK NICU

Add Your Heading Text Here
Elizabeth Coombes

This mixed-methods pilot study involved the parents of premature infants in a neonatal unit. It explored the impact of parental participation in a singing workshop facilitated by an NICU music therapist. After the workshop and hospital stay, a statically significant increase in parental wellbeing occurred. Reduction in parental anxiety and improved parental bonding were not statistically significant, but may suggest trends for improvement in these areas. This low-intensity cost-effective intervention has demonstrated efficacy in the area of parental wellbeing. There is therefore potential for this study to offer a baseline music therapy provision in NICUs.

Presentation Description:

The seminar will include a presentation of the results of the study, including the context of the setting and socio-economic area in which it took place. Quantitative and qualitative aspects of the data obtained will be discussed with recommendations for future development of the work. Challenges to setting up such a project will also form part of the seminar. Applied elements of the study will also be workshopped in the live presentation, including receptive elements and live singing, offering aspects of the work that are unique to this study.

Learner Objectives:

  • Utilize or develop appropriate referral protocols for the population. (CBMT Domain A. 1.)
  • Observe client in music and/or non-music settings. (CBMT Domain B. 1.)
  • Design music therapy experiences that address client goals and
    objectives based on available research; clinical expertise; and
    the needs, values, and preferences of the client. (CBMT Domain D. 10.)


Target Audience:

Students, Entry-level professionals, Experienced professionals

Presenter Biography:

Elizabeth Coombes is the Course Leader for the MA Music Therapy course in Wales, UK. She has a wide base of practice and research expertise utilising a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods in her work. She is passionate about sharing aspects of music therapy clients, carers and healthcare professionals.