The ‘ripple effect’: Towards researching improvisational music therapy in dementia care homes


Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice




Increased interest in, and demand for, music therapy provision for persons with dementia prompted this study’s exploration of music therapists’ strategies for creating musical communities in dementia care settings, considering the needs and resources of people affected by dementia. Focus group discussions and detailed iterative study of improvisational music therapy work by six experienced practitioners clarify the contextual immediacy and socio-musical complexities of music therapy in dementia care homes. Music therapy’s ‘ripple effect’, with resonances from micro (person-to-person musicking), to meso (musicking beyond ‘session time’) and macro level (within the care home and beyond), implies that all who are part of the dementia care ecology need opportunities for flourishing, shared participation, and for expanded self-identities; beyond ‘staff’, ‘residents’, or ‘being in distress’. On such basis, managers and funders might consider an extended brief for music therapists’ roles, to include generating and maintaining musical wellbeing throughout residential care settings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Music Therapy; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Nursing Home

Indexed Terms

dementia care homes; practice-led methodology; ripple effect; wellbeing; Communication; Dementia; Focus Groups; Homes for the Aged; Home Care; Communities; Well Being

Study Type

Case-Control Study; Qualitative Methods; v

Document Type