Music Therapy and Music Medicine Studies in Oncology: Part I: A Comparison


  • Barbara L Wheeler Montclair State University
  • Teresa L. Lesiuk University of Miami
  • Debra S. Burns Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Suzanne B. Hanser Berklee College of Music
  • Andrew Rossetti Mount Sinai Beth Israel
  • Michael D. Cassity Southwestern Oklahoma State University



Music medicine studies and music therapy studies in oncology are compared in this research article. The intent is to see whether music therapy research differs from music medicine research and, if so, articulate the differences. The studies referred to in this paper might be most useful in highlighting the strong points of each type of practice. Nine music therapy and eight music medicine quantitative or mixed methods studies were selected as exemplary studies in both areas, using a Delphi process. Studies were then examined and compared regarding number of participants; independent and dependent variables; measures used; findings; number, duration, and frequency of sessions; number of participants; presentation of music; number and length of sessions; whether intervention content and an intervention theory were provided; whether music therapists were included as authors; the types of journals in which articles were published; areas of intervention; and whether CONSORT guidelines were followed. Similarities and differences are discussed, as are implications for research and practice.

Author Biographies

Barbara L Wheeler, Montclair State University

Professor Emeritus, Montclair State University

Teresa L. Lesiuk, University of Miami

Frost School of Music

Director and Associate Professor, Music Therapy

Debra S. Burns, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Professor of Music Therapy

Chair, Department of Music and Arts Technology

Suzanne B. Hanser, Berklee College of Music

Professor, Music TherapyChair Emerita 

Andrew Rossetti, Mount Sinai Beth Israel

Coordinator - Radiation Oncology Music Therapy ProgramLouis Armstrong Center for Music & Medicine

Michael D. Cassity, Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Professor Emeritus (Southwestern OK State University)Music Therapy and Creative Arts, Inc., President and CEO


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