Songwriting Oriented Activities Improve the Cognitive Functions of the Aged With Dementia


The Arts in Psychotherapy




This study investigates the effects of songwriting oriented activities on the cognitive functions of the aged with dementia. The music therapy program employing songwriting related activities consisted of three stages: stage 1, preparing songwriting for finding preferred songs, stage 2, doing songwriting, and stage 3, reinforcing songwriting. Experiments were carried out with 30 elderly persons housed in a nursing home for 16 weeks. The subjects were divided into the control group and the experimental group, and each group had 15 subjects randomly allocated. The experimental group underwent the songwriting program for 60 min per week for 16 weeks. MMSE-K was used to assess the cognitive functions of the subjects. The results showed that the MMSE-K score of the experimental group increased by 3.8 points (26.0%) from 14.6 to 18.4 (p = 0.001) after intervention. The three sub-items of 'language function', 'orientation', and 'memory' rose significantly (p < 0.01) by 40.4%, 22.2% and 15.8%, respectively, whereas 'attention & calculation', and 'comprehension & judgment' did not improve with significance (p > 0.01). In the control group, however, the MMSE-K score decreased a little by 0.87 (5.8%), from 15.00 to 14.13 (p = 0.014). The present study supports the conclusion that songwriting oriented activities may be useful in music therapy for improving the cognitive functions of the aged with dementia. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Cognitive Abilities; Composition; Elderly; Long-Term Care Facility; Memory; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Songwriting

Indexed Terms

cognitive functions; dementia; song writing; cognitive ability; Cognitive Processes

Study Type

Randomized Controlled; Trial; Quantitative Methods

Document Type