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Ming in a music therapy session

4 November 2013

The lead Music Therapist of MHA is to bring his expertise and research to a conference in Birmingham next year.

Ming Hung Hsu, along with fellow MHA Music Therapists Clare Monckton and Rosamund Pendry, will give two presentations to the inaugural conference of the British Association for Music Therapy in the Birmingham Conservatoire in February 2014. The presentations will cover video analysis in psychophysiological research into music therapy, and the benefits of the alternative therapy for people with dementia.

The presentations will draw on a small trial that has been carried out at two MHA homes to assess the effects of music therapy on people with dementia. In total, 14 residents from two MHA homes, Homestead in Carterton, Oxfordshire and Fitzwarren House in Swindon, Wiltshire, took part in the five-month period. The trial was conducted with the assistance of Professor Helen Odell-Miller of Anglia Ruskin University. The data is now being analysed.

Ming said, “There is not much research going on into the effects of music therapy for people with dementia, so we are very pleased to be doing this. This has been a psychophysiological trial – we have been collecting data such as skin temperature and heart rate to help indicate the effect music therapy has on people.

“This was just a small feasibility trial but I hope it sets the path to help us understand how music therapy works. A lot of music therapy research now is indicating that it can improve well-being but very little has been done into how it actually works, the mechanisms of it.”

Ming has addressed other international music therapy conferences previously, including ones in Seoul and Norway. He has a Masters in music therapy with a distinction from Anglia Ruskin University and is soon to start a PhD there with funding from MHA.

“Ming said, “I will research how Music Therapy can improve quality of life for care home residents. Nobody has yet looked into how exactly Music Therapy works. There have been studies showing that it works, but none into how or why. I’m going to be looking into that.

“In time, I’d like to write a book, possibly in collaboration with others, about Music Therapy in care homes – nobody is publishing anything about that at the moment and I think there is so much we can learn from it to enable us to provide the best possible care that we can.

“Music therapy provides a non verbal means of communication and self expression for people with dementia and MHA’s homes abound with stories of how it has helped to ease anxiety and distress, and create a sense of joy and well-being for residents.”

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