Training Endogenous Task Shifting Using Music Therapy: A Feasibility Study

Research shows that Neurologic Music Therapy techniques can be beneficial in increasing executive functioning skills in people with traumatic brain injury.  People with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) often have similar difficulties with executive functioning skills. Research prior to this article is limited. Therefore, the purpose of this study for these researchers Lynch and LaGasse was to determine the feasibility of a specific Musical Executive Functioning Training (MEFT) intervention to address task shifting skills in adults diagnosed with ABI. Their goal was to find preliminary evidence on this MEFT intervention and its effect specifically on task shifting.

In this study 14 participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The three groups were 1.) A Music Therapy Intervention Group, 2.) A Singing Group, and 3.) a Control Group (No intervention). Both the Singing Group and the Music Therapy Intervention Group met for one hour a day for five days. The feasibility for this study included both the intervention fidelity and the participation completion rate. The Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task and the Trail Making Test were both used to measure the potential benefits of the intervention. They were both used as a pre and post test measure.

The results showed that both the participant completion rates and the intervention fidelity for the protocol showed feasibility. A trend toward improvement was shown when a One-Way ANOVA of the pre and post test groups was completed. The results also showed that there was a more positive trend with the Music Therapy Intervention Group than the Singing Group. Therefore, both the feasibility and the effect size data show that a larger trial with this MEFT protocol could yield more significant results and should be conducted in the future.

By Kylie Rodriguez, MM, MT-BC

Lynch, Colleen, and A Blythe Lagasse. “Training Endogenous Task Shifting Using Music Therapy: A Feasibility Study.” Journal of Music Therapy, vol. 53, no. 3, 2016, pp. 279–307., doi:10.1093/jmt/thw008.