J Mov Disord.  2018 Sep;11(3):121-128. 10.14802/jmd.17078.

Individual Therapeutic Singing Program for Vocal Quality and Depression in Parkinson's Disease

  • 1Department of Music Therapy, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Neurology, Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. dream-yoon@hanmail.net, hju@ewha.ac.kr


Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) frequently experience depression associated with voice problems. Singing involves the use of similar muscles and the neural networks associated with vocal function and emotional response. The purpose of this study is to enhance vocal quality and depressive symptoms of patients with PD using individual singing program.
The Individual Therapeutic Singing Program for PD (ITSP-PD) was conducted by a certified music therapist. In total, nine PD patients with a subjective voice problem or depression participated in 6 sessions over 2 weeks. We measured the Maximum Phonation Time (MPT) via the Praat test, the Voice Handicap Index (VHI), the Voice-Related Quality of Life (V-RQOL) and the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS).
In total, 8 out of 9 patients completed all the sessions; 6 out of 8 patients participated in the follow-up test after 6 months. A statistically significant change in MPT (p = 0.011) was observed between the pre- and post-tests. The VHI (p = 0.035) and the GDS (p = 0.018) were significantly lower in the post-test. In the pre-, post-, and follow-up tests, the MPT (p = 0.030), V-RQOL (p = 0.008), and GDS (p = 0.009) were significantly changed.
The ITSP-PD based on neurological singing therapy for PD showed therapeutic possibility for vocal function and depression in patients with PD. Our findings suggest the need for a randomized study to examine the continuing positive effects of the ITSP-PD over a longer period of time.


Parkinson's disease; music therapy; singing; voice; depression
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