Neurologic Music Therapy

Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) is the therapeutic application of music to cognitive, sensory, and motor function, specifically in cases of neurologic disease of the human nervous system (Robert F. Unkefer Academy for Neurologic Music Therapy definition). Music therapists who complete the 30 hour NMT training may use the professional designation Neurologic Music Therapist.

NMT is a research-based paradigm that includes treatment interventions based on knowledge of how and where music is perceived and produced in the brain. These interventions may be used for individuals with neurologic conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or cerebral palsy.

Examples of NMT techniques in practice:

  • Use of auditory rhythm to facilitate gait training (for individuals with irregular gait due to stroke, TBI, or Parkinson’s disease)
  • Use of elements of music to provide cues necessary for completing exercises or functional movement patterns in rehabilitation settings
  • Use of singing in order to facilitate speech in individuals with expressive aphasia
  • Use of rhythm to address fluency disorders or control rate of speech in stroke or Parkinson’s patients