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Delivering a music intervention in a randomized controlled trial involving older people with dementia: Musician experiences and reflections


Harrison, Scott, Cooke, Marie, Moyle, Wendy, Shum, David, Murfield, Jenny


Music and Medicine, Volume: 2, No.: 4, Pages.: 214-218

Year of Publication



A qualitative thematic approach was used to explore musicians’ views and experiences of delivering a music intervention and its efficacy for people with dementia in long-term care. Two musicians who delivered the intervention in a randomized controlled trial were interviewed using a semistructured schedule. The data were sorted, categorized, and thematically analyzed. Two themes emerged: design of the protocol and efficacy of the program. Musicians felt that the intervention was appropriately designed, particularly in terms of repertoire selection, session length, incorporation of live and prerecorded music, and use of 2 musicians. They reported seeing improvements in mood, memory, general well-being, and quality of life for persons with dementia, both during and after the session. The findings support a music protocol structure that can be used for randomized controlled trials. They also highlight how standardized assessment tools used in randomized controlled trials can be complemented with qualitative, reflective evidence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

Bibtex Citation

@article{Harrison_2010, doi = {10.1177/1943862110374961}, url = {}, year = 2010, month = {jul}, publisher = {{SAGE} Publications}, volume = {2}, number = {4}, pages = {214--218}, author = {S. Harrison and M. Cooke and W. Moyle and D. Shum and J. Murfield}, title = {Delivering a Music Intervention in a Randomized Controlled Trial Involving Older People With Dementia: Musician Experiences and Reflections}, journal = {Music and Medicine} }


dementia, music intervention, music therapy, musicians, older people

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Interview Study

Type of Outcomes

Behaviour, Cognition, Quality of Life of Person With Dementia, Satisfaction with care/services

Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Arts and Music Interventions (including Art and Music Therapy)