Anke Coomans presents in Cambridge, UK

Anke Coomans will present her PhD project at the “Music Therapy and Dementia Care in the 21st Century” Conference, September 4-6 2015, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.


‘Moments of resonance’ in musical improvisation with people in a severe stage of dementia. An explorative multiple case study research.

People in late stage dementia often show signs of anxiety and distress. Due to cognitive impairments they lack the ability to express their emotions and needs in a way that is understandable for their family and/or caregivers. This lecture presents a study that aims to explore how musical improvisation in music therapy with people with dementia can lead to occurrences of essential moments of meeting on a non-verbal, musical level. In a multiple case study (n=4), data consist of written clinical notes of the music therapist and video-recordings of individual music therapy sessions. Each case study comprises an in-depth analysis that leads to a selection of essential moments of meeting between the patient and therapist. The selection as well as the analysis happens by means of a clinical research intervision group and is based on an interpretive phenomenological approach. Some preliminary conclusions of the study will be presented. They will show how musical improvisation can be used as a specific intervention and how certain musical elements, such as timbre, tempo, silence, and phrasing, can play a crucial role in the occurrence of what is defined as ‘moments of resonance’.

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