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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00661

Music to one’s ears: Familiarity and music engagement in people with Parkinson’s disease

  • 1St. Charles Hospital, United States
  • 2Stony Brook University, United States
  • 3Stony Brook Medicine, United States

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex diagnosis commonly associated with motor dysfunction, but known to comprise cognitive, psychiatric and mood disturbances as well. Music has been successfully used to address motor and non-motor symptoms of PD. Still, little is known about the nature of an individual with PD's experience and relationship with music on conceptual and emotional levels, which may factor into their engagement in music-based techniques to ameliorate impairments. Two surveys were administered to 19 individuals with PD and 15 individuals without PD in order to gauge their subjective impressions and valuations of music. Participants completed The Brief Music Experience Questionnaire (BMEQ), a standard self-report measure pertaining to the role of music in one’s life, prior to performing a perception task which involved listening to and making sound adjustments to three music recordings. Following the perception task, a custom Exit Survey was administered to evaluate the experience of listening to and engaging with the music in the perception task. In all six dimensions of the BMEQ, examining aspects of music experience including commitment to music, self-reported musical aptitude, social uplift, affective reactions, positive psychotropic effects, and reactive musical behavior (RMB, pertaining to actions or behaviors in response to music), the mean and the median were greater for the control group than for the PD group, but the difference was only statistically significant in the RMB dimension. On the Exit Survey, both groups assessed recent, specific, and interactive music listening more positively than the imagined, hypothetical or general music experiences addressed on the BMEQ. Additionally, familiarity had a greater effect on listening pleasure for participants with PD than those without PD. We conclude that people with PD may perceive less of an automatic connection between music and activity than their healthy peers. Additionally, they may receive more pleasure and value from music than they anticipate. Taken together, our results suggest that people with PD may require encouragement to participate as well as empowerment to choose familiar selections in order to better access music-based interventions and the benefits they can offer.

Keywords: neuromusic, Brief Music Experience Questionnaire (BMEQ), Neurologic music therapy, Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS), Parkinson's disease therapy, Music Therapy

Received: 16 Sep 2018; Accepted: 07 Jun 2019.

Edited by:

Michael H. Thaut, University of Toronto, Canada

Reviewed by:

Jeanette Tamplin, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne, Australia
Andrea M. Hunt, Rowan University, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Morris, Schedel, Vasudevan, Weymouth, Loomis, Pinkhasov and Muratori. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Lisa M. Muratori, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, 11794, New York, United States,