What is NMT?

Neurologic Music Therapy is the therapeutic application of music to address cognitive, sensory, and motor dysfunction due to neurologic disease. Neurologic Music Therapy is research-based. Its treatment techniques are built on the scientific knowledge of music perception and production and its effects on nonmusical brain and behavior functions.


Each client is unique with needs that vary, but research results and clinical experiences attest to the viability of Neurologic Music Therapy even in those who may not respond well to other treatment approaches.

Populations We Serve

Cerebral Palsy

Parkinson's and Huntington’s


Traumatic Brain Injury

NMT Techniques We Use

is a neurologic technique used to facilitate the rehabilitation of movements that are intrinsically biologically rhythmical, most importantly gait. RAS uses the physiological effects of auditory rhythm on the motor system to improve the control of movement in rehabilitation of functional, stable and adaptive gait patterns in patients with significant gait deficits due to neurological impairment.

RAS can be used in two different ways: 1) as an immediate entrainment stimulus providing rhythmic cues during movement, and 2) as a facilitating stimulus for training in order to achieve more functional gait patterns

is a technique which uses the rhythmic, melodic, harmonic and dynamic-acoustical elements of music to provide temporal, spatial, and force cues for movements which reflect functional exercises and activities of daily living.

PSE is broader in application than RAS, because it is (a) applied to movements that are not rhythmical by nature (e.g., most arm and hand movements, functional movement sequences such as dressing or sit-to-stand transfers) and (b) it provides more than just temporal cues. PSE uses musical patterns to assemble single, discrete motions (e.g., arm and hand movements during reaching and grasping), into functional movement patterns and sequences. PSE cues movements temporally, spatially, and dynamically during training exercises.

is the playing of musical instruments in order to exercise and stimulate functional movement patterns. Appropriate musical instruments are selected in a therapeutically meaningful way in order to emphasize range of motion, endurance, strength, functional hand movements, finger dexterity, and limb coordination (Elliot 1982, Clark and Chadwick, 1980). During TIMP, instruments are not typically played in the traditional manner, but are placed in different locations to facilitate practice of the desired functional movements.

is a treatment technique developed for expressive aphasia rehabilitation which utilizes a patient’s unimpaired ability to sing, to facilitate spontaneous and voluntary speech through sung and chanted melodies which resemble natural speech intonation patterns (Sparks et al. 1974). When using MIT with aphasia, the emphasis is to increase the linguistic or semantic aspects of verbal utterances.

is the use of rhythmic cueing to control the initiation and rate of  speech thru cueing and pacing. The therapist may use the client’s hand, a drum, or possibly a metronome to prime speech patterns or pace the rate of speech. This technique can be useful to facilitate motor planning for a patient with apraxia, to cue muscular coordination for dysarthria, or assist in pacing with fluency disorders.

is the use of intoned phrases simulating the prosody, inflection, and pacing of normal speech. This is done through vocal exercises which train all aspects of voice control including: inflection, pitch, breath control, timbre, and dynamics. An example would be to sing a five note scale and gradually move the starting pitch up or down by half steps with a child who has a limited pitch range in their normal speaking voice. This exercise could be further expanded by adding a functional sentence i.e., “Let’s go out and play.

Source: Thaut, M. H. (2005). Rhythm, Music and the Brain. New York and London: Taylor and Francis Group


Portland Music Therapy maintains a very specific intention – to discover the gifts beyond a diagnosis.

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