Case Study: Individual Music Therapy with an Elderly Man in a Residential Care Setting

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Oliver E. L. Lowery

MMusTher (Hons), BMus, NZ RMTh
Te Kōkī, New Zealand School of Music, Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington


Keywords: Music therapy, stroke, elderly, case study, student music therapist


This case study describes the processes involved in the development of a relationship between a student music therapist and John, a 69-year-old man who lives in the hospital wing of a home for the elderly. As a result of a cerebrovascular accident (also known as stroke), John’s physical and verbal abilities were severely limited and he had become very isolated and withdrawn. Over the course of the student music therapist’s placement, John was engaged in eleven 20–40 minute music therapy sessions that encouraged communication and improvement in overall wellbeing. Both the student music therapist and the facility staff noted improvements in John’s general wellbeing and socialisation, and made links between these and music therapy.

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