Reflections and Resources

Survey of the Home Music Environment of Children with Various Developmental Profiles

Families with young children with and without developmental disabilities often engage in musical experiences in the home. These parent-child musical activities are associated with positive outcomes for children and parents andmay be a context to help foster strong parent-child relationships. However, little is known about how musical experiences differ across diagnostic groups or their relevance to parent-child attachment.

Mental Health and Music Engagement: Review, Framework, and Guidelines for Future Studies

Is engaging with music good for your mental health? This question has long been the topic of empirical clinical and nonclinical investigations, with studies indicating positive associations between music engagement and quality of life, reduced depression or anxiety symptoms, and less frequent substance use. However, many earlier investigations were limited by small populations and methodological limitations, and it has also been suggested that aspects of music engagement may even be associated with worse mental health outcomes.

Virtual Mindfulness-Based Music and Songwriting Program

The Virtual Mindfulness-Based Music and Songwriting Program (MBMS) is a research study opportunity for parents of children with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Parents participate in a 7-week online mindfulness-based music and songwriting program to reduce stress and promote well-being. No music or songwriting training is needed to participate in this study.

Musical Engagement and Parent-Child Attachment in Families with Young Children During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of families in the United States and across the world, impacting parent mental health and stress, and in turn, the parent-child relationship. Music is a common parent-child activity and has been found to positively impact relationships, but little is known about music’s role in parent-child interactions during a pandemic.

Parents, Peers, and Musical Play: Integrated Parent-Child Music Class Program Supports Community Participation and Well-Being for Families of Children with and without ASD

Opportunities for meaningful community participation may influence the development and well-being of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families as well as impact how community members perceive and understand ASD. In the current study, we aimed to understand how a parent-child integrated music class program could be used to promote community participation and family well-being.

Parental Responsiveness During Musical and Non-Musical Engagement in Preschoolers with ASD

Musical play is a natural and common form of parent-child play, which is an important avenue for supporting social development in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As a familiar, reinforcing, and predictable activity, musical play may support children’s attention to play activities and provide parents with a familiar and accessible context to promote parental responsiveness. However, musical play may also impede play interactions due to its sensory and repetitive components.

PRESS-Play: Musical Engagement as a Motivating Platform for Social Interaction and Social Play in Young Children with ASD

Musical experiences are ubiquitous in early childhood. Beyond potential benefits of musical activities for young children with typical development, there has long been interest in harnessing music for therapeutic purposes for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, there is debate as to the effectiveness of these approaches and thus a need to identify mechanisms of change (or active ingredients) by which musical experiences may impact social development in young children with ASD.

Musical Activities to Support Parent-Child Relationships

We shared about Musical Activities to Support Parent-Child Relationships on the NEA Art Works blog! For suggestions of music activities to engage in at home, check out the Home Toolkit from our Serenade parent-child music program: You'll find video models, visual supports, and strategies for making the most of music time at home.

Commentary on “Interprofessional Education of the Next Generation of Musician-Scientists through Music Cognition Research Training"

Commentary on “Interprofessional Education of the Next Generation of Musician-Scientists through Music Cognition Research Training: An Innovative Platform for Health Professions and Biomedical Research”: Connections to the VUMC National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab Miriam Lense, PhD, Co-Director, Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab VUMC NEA Research Lab, Project Director  

Summary of "The Visual Music of Synesthesia"

Dr. Polina Dimova, scholar of Russian and European literature, music, and visual art, was the guest speaker at the April 2019 Music Research Forum. Dr. Dimova presented on modernist artists’ experience and fascination with synesthesia -- the phenomenon of mixing the senses (e.g. perceiving sounds as colors). Dr. Dimova presented examples from the work of artists such as Annie Besant, Wassily Kandinsky, and Frank Kupka, who are all thought to have been synesthetes.