Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


School of Music

First Advisor

Andrea Crimmins


Background: Music is an important part of life for the lives of many seniors. Priorresearch has indicated that music is beneficial to adults with Alzheimer’s disease. Purpose: With the intent to advocate for music therapists working in memory care, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of music therapy intervention on language and memory in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Three research questions were addressed in this study: (1) Of the three conditions (music therapy, recorded music, control), which appear to result the most change in MMSE scores in adults with moderate Alzheimer’s disease? What differences are observed after each condition? (2) Does music therapy treatment significantly enhance memory and communication in patients with moderate Alzheimer’s disease? (3) What behaviors/responses were observed during each condition? Particularly, facial expressions, body language, communication, episodic memory, singing/humming, physiological responses, and alertness. Method: Five participants over the age of 65 diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease were recruited for this study, each receiving 3 different conditions once (music therapy, recorded music, and a control [reading a short story]). An adapted Mini Mental-State Examination (MMSE) was administered as a pre-test prior to and a post-test following each condition. Qualitative data was also coded by the researcher after reviewing video recordings. Results: Music elicited many non-musical responses among participants revealed through qualitative behavioral observations, although no statistical significance was found for quantitative data. Conclusions: The overarching conclusion of this study is that it is critical for music therapists to remember the individuality of the people in which they support. Music has the potential to be highly effective with adults with Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in the areas of communication and memory.


Imported from Furgat_ilstu_0092N_12409.pdf


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