NOTE:   This is just a sample of available programs. Unique programs can be developed by MTL to meet you needs, thus taking into consideration your goals and resources.

While music can be used as a motivator for participation in physical activity, it can also be used to enhance the coordination fo movement. In particular, rhythm can act as an organizational template during motor activity. Research headed by Dr. M. Thaut over the past twelve years has revealed that auditory stimulation can excite and shape activity in the motor system. This response is not a learned behaviour but rather is an integrated function with the Central Nervous System. Thus, we can use rhythmic pacing to provide a stronger, more focused muscular effort on a neurological level. This translates into movement that is more symmetrical, efficient and better balance.

A)    Gait Rehabilitation   The use of RAS (rhythmic auditory stimulation) has an immediate effect on gait. The RAS can be entrained within a three week period, with results lasting five weeks before repeat entrainment is required. Such a program requires the involvement of a music therapist and a physiotherapist to set up individual programs, but once established, the individuals can complete the daily program on their own. Similarly, professional involvement is not required to initiate repeat entrainment periods. This program was originally developed to assist in the gait rehabilitation of those with Parkinson’s disease.

B)    TIMP Stations   This program involves using music instruments to facilitate the rehabilitation of specific gross and fine motor skills. TIMP stations involve setting up a number of practice areas within one rooms. A group of residents would then rotate between the stations. While at each station, they would participate as a group by playing the instrument at their station in accompaniment to music provided by the music therapist. Such a program would require, minimally, the leadership of one music therapist and one other individual.


C)    Rhythm for Life   This program can be used in a small group format (for those with dementia) or for a large group. Activities centre on producing simple repetitive rhythms in socially challenging, fun ways. Skills are developed in complexity over time through the use of various instruments and through the use of the body as an instrument.

D)     Mingle through Music   This program involves maintaining and developing social skills through various tasks that involve parallel, turn taking, trading, solo and cooperative participation.

E)    Cognitive Program
    I) High    This program presents a variety of tasks that cognitively challenge the participants. Such activities include music-based puzzles and games, song-writing, instrumental conversations, and theme-based singing.

    ii) Medium    Activities include the use of movement props, sensory stimulation tasks, and group and solo instrumental work.

    iii) Low    These sessions can occur individually or in a small group format (2 to 6 per group), either in a lounge room or as a bedside visit. Music is used to stimulate eye contact and other social interactions, gross motor responses, choice making and verbalizations.

F)    Creative Music  Music within this program is explored in a non-traditional manner. Improvisation (instrumental, body and vocal) forms the basis of many of the activities. Such improvisations can include producing a sound scape, creating jazz music, or making music using kitchen utensils. Music is explored through examining sound and through discovering how other cultures approach the creation of music.

G)    Intergenerational Programs  Intergenerational programs allow for the sharing of music and activity in such a way that the participants discover a common ground beneath their differences. Programs with young children involve singing, movement and basic instrument usage. Programs with older children incorporate instrumental improvisation and songwriting.

H)     Handchime Choir   This program is primarily appropriate for higher functioning individuals. Specific songs are practiced over a 10 week period, and then are presented in a concert format.


I)    Behavioural Needs Program   Music’s effect on mood and cognitive processing can be used to minimize or extinguish aggressive, self-abusive, agitated and/or anxious behaviours. Such programs require individual work. Services can be provided over time, in which case techniques are individualized and developed, and then generalized to the general staff, or services can be provided on the floor, in response to immediate need.

J)    Family Visits   Families can have difficulties interacting with their loved ones when individual responses become minimal, due to dementia or due to physical barriers. Music can facilitate family visits, providing shared, meaningful activity for visitor(s) and resident.
K)    Grief Work   This program is used for those who have just arrived at a facility, who are in palliative care, or who have a need for non-verbal emotional counselling. Activities look to use music as an expressive modality for the venting and resolution of emotions.

L)    Comfort   Individual bedside visits can be used to provide comfort to those who require pain management support, who are bedridden, are withdrawn and/or are in palliative care. Such sessions usually provide a more passive role for the residents, as the therapists creates the music for the resident to hear rather than involving the resident in the actual music production.

M)    For Those in the Infirmary   Music at the time of death can provide comfort for both the individual and the family. The sense of hearing is the last sense lost, thus sound is extremely important in providing a cradle of support for an individual during the transition from life to death. For the family, music can support connectedness with the loved one, and often provides a positive, precious memory of their final shared moments.