Anglia Ruskin is UK lead for major music therapy study

Published: 30 November 2018 at 12:23

An older person playing the piano

New £2.5 million project will investigate the potential benefits for people with dementia

Anglia Ruskin University will lead the UK arm of a new £2.5 million joint EU programme to investigate the benefits of music for people living with dementia.

The UK part of the study is funded by The Alzheimer’s Society and will be carried out by experts at Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research.         

The three-year programme will recruit around 500 couples, where one person has dementia.  In addition to standard care, the carer will be trained by a music therapist who will initially work with the couple.  The couple will then work together using music five days a week at home, for a 12-week period, overseen by a music therapist. 

Their progress will be compared with a similar programme of reading between couples who are also receiving standard care, as well as couples receiving only standard care for dementia.  A variety of measures will test relationship, resilience and other aspects of quality of life for both carers and for the person with dementia. 

Professor Helen Odell-Miller, the Principal Investigator for the UK part of the project and the Director of the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research, said:


“This is a fantastic opportunity to explore and measure the impact of music interventions for people with dementia and their family carer.  Five countries are involved and we hope to make a difference to dementia care across different cultures and communities.”

The other institutions involved in the neurodegenerative disease research project are the University of Melbourne, the Norwegian Academy of Music, the University of Physical Education in Krakow, and the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, Germany.

Further information about Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research is available here