Music has always been the common theme in my life so it was no surprise to anyone when I became a board-certified Neurologic Music Therapist. It was during my research for my master’s degree when I began corresponding with UAB Physical Therapy faculty member Matt Ford, PT, Ph.D., whose research involves the use of music for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
Research in Neurologic Music Therapy has shown improvements in walking when participants with Parkinson’s disease partake in long-term training with specific music tailored to their walking needs. The motor aspects of speech (rate of speech, articulation, use of the diaphragm) are also addressed in NMT through specific singing and wind instrument exercises. Other motor and cognitive abilities can be exercised by playing instruments, exercising with specific types of live music, and more.
I wanted to continue my research which led me to the newly created PhD in Rehabilitation Science program housed jointly in the Departments of Occupational and Physical Therapy. This program provides me with the tools to engage in research regarding those questions and ideas that are in need of scientific quantification and understanding in regards to Neurologic Music Therapy and Parkinson’s Rehabilitation. I believe research is the best avenue for me to combine my professional and personal experiences to enhance the use of music in therapy.
My hopes are to continue developing effective Neurologic Music Therapy applications, which requires strong quantitative evidence as well as a strong relationship with other healthcare disciplines. The new Rehabilitation Science PhD program is by nature an interdisciplinary program. With this addition to the building, you are providing us with a centralized location where all the labs will be accessible, as well as the medium necessary to engage in the collaborative effort research in rehabilitation requires.
~Marion Haase, Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science student