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Dr. Taylor has captured the essence of interdisciplinary music/brain research and draws some interesting conclusions to the often asked question “why does music therapy work?”

Discover the Origins of Music Therapy

Biomedical Foundations of Music as Therapy by Dale B. Taylor explores the beginnings and real applications of music as therapy

A new edition covering years of investigations on music therapy and the brain. Contains dozens of full color illustrations, a new chapter describing the research basis for the new hypothesis on cognition, a Foreword by a Mayo Clinic College of Medicine neurologist, over twice as many pages as edition one due to volumes of new research, and numerous references to real applications of biomedical theory by practicing music therapists and educators. Presents a unifying theoretical basis for observed therapeutic effects of music by laying a scientific foundation for the thesis that the brain is the target organ for sensory input and the mediator of neural impulses that result in physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Describes the role of music therapy to enhance human capabilities in treating behavior disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, developmental disorders, pain management, anxiety reduction, critical care, burn units, oncology, obstetrics, pediatrics, surgery, coronary care, traumatic brain injury, immune functions, cognitive disabilities, and severe depression.

Dr. Taylor’s much anticipated work brings together perspectives on music as therapy from a biomedical point of view. This is an in-depth, well-researched text that provides a clear and fascinating look at neurophysiology, auditory function, and music perception as it applies to such key clinical areas as stress and pain management, recovery of physical and communication skills, and cognition.

Dr. Taylor has captured the essence of interdisciplinary music/brain research as it applies to music therapy and draws some interesting conclusions to the often asked question “why does music therapy work?”

Dr. Concetta M. Tomaino, ACMT-BC
Director of Music Therapy
Institute for Music and Neurologic Function
Beth Abraham Health Services
Bronx, New York

Chapters and Content


  • Table of Figures
  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface
  • Foreward

Chapter I – Prologue: Perspectives on Music as Therapy

  • Historical Perspectives
  • Facing the Question: What is Music Therapy?
  • Various Theoretical Approaches and Biomedical Theory
  • Biomedical Music Therapy Theory: An Overview

Chapter II – The Human Brain

  • Brain Functioning
  • Developmental Audiation and Music
  • Development of Musical Behaviors

Chapter III – Musical Influences on Cortical Processing

  • Hemispheric Processing of Musical Behavior
  • Cortical Arousal and Music
  • Music and Disabilities Due to Brain Impairment
  • Biochemical Respondents

Chapter IV – Musical Influences on Cognition

  • Reception, Perception, and Cognition
  • The Brain, Cognition, and Music
  • Disorders Involving Cognitive Impairment
  • Music Therapy with Psychotic Disorders
  • Music Therapy with Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias
  • Traumatic Brain Injury and Music Therapy

Chapter V – The Biomedical Theory of Music Therapy and Pain

  • Pain Perception and Musical Influence
  • Analgesic Music in Surgery
  • Music for Pain Management in Childbirth
  • Pain Management with Burn Patients
  • Pain Control in Selected General Hospital Units

Chapter VI – Musical Effects on Cranial Centers for Emotion

  • Emotional Responses to Music
  • Neuropsychology of Emotion and Music
  • Brain Reinforcement and Musical Stimuli
  • Emotional Cognition and Musical Influences
  • Mood Disorders
  • Music Therapy for Reversal of Suicidal Behavior
  • Music Therapy for Eating Disorders
  • Crt Applications
  • Crt for Bulimia Nervosa
  • Biomedical Influences of Music on Behavior Disorders
  • Controlling Emotions with Music in Physical Medicine

Chapter VII – Music For Recovery of Physical and Communication Skills

  • Cortical Control of Movement During Musical Activity
  • Music in Physical Rehabilitation
  • Music Therapy for Language Disorders
  • Sensory Disorders: Enhancing Communication Skills with Music
  • Music Medicine: Treatment for Injured Musicians

Chapter VIII – Musical Influences on Anxiety and Stress Physiology

  • Anxiety Disorders and Brain Functioning
  • Physiology of Anxiety and Stress
  • Immune System Biology and Musical Influences
  • Managing Axiety and Stress in Infants and Children
  • Anxiolytic Music in Medical and Dental Procedures

Chapter IX – Conclusion: Rediscovering Music Therapy

  • Practical Implications of the Biomedical Theory of Music Therapy
  • Conclusion




During his presentation on “A Neuroanatomical Model for the Use of Music in the Remediation of Aphasic Disorders” in 1985 at the Music in Rehabilitation and Human Well-Being Conference in New York City, Dr. Taylor became the first person to use the word “plasticity” to describe the behavior of neurons in the brain when he offered his theory of “Functional Plasticity” to explain why TBI victims who are involved in music recover language skills faster and more completely than nonmusical aphasia sufferers.

About the Author

Dr. Dale Taylor, AuthorDr. Taylor is a Board Certified Music Therapist, former Chair and member of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long Term Care, member of the AMTA Music Therapy Informed Music Listening Work Group, former Visiting Professor at Augsburg University and Alverno College, former Chair of the Department of Allied Health Professions at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and founding Director of the Music Therapy Program, past Editor of the International Journal of Arts Medicine, Secretary-Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the International Arts Medicine Association, member of the International Relations Committee and former member of the Assembly of Delegates of the American Music Therapy Association and the National Association for Music Therapy, past Chair of the NAMT Certification-Registration and International Activities Committees and National Coordinator of Student Affairs, and past member of the Wisconsin Public Health Leadership Institute. He has also served as President and Vice-President of the Great Lakes Region of NAMT, chaired the founding meetings of the Wisconsin Chapter for Music Therapy, served on the boards of Music Education for the Handicapped and the International Association of Music for the Handicapped, and is a member of the Music Therapy Neurology Network.

Dr. Taylor’s presentations of his Biomedical Theory of Music Therapy have been made at conferences and academic institutions throughout the United States as well as in Canada, South Africa, Argentina, Colombia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Estonia, Japan, Korea, and Australia. His papers on this and other topics appear in the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives, International Journal of Arts Medicine, and he has authored numerous chapters appearing in books edited by colleagues.

Speaking and Conferences

Dr. Taylor regularly gives presentations at conferences and academic institutions throughout the world. To receive a schedule or inquire about including Dr. Taylor at your conference, please write to:


From a student who read the 2nd edition:

I am a senior music therapy student . . . I have absolutely loved reading through your book about the biomedical foundations of music therapy.

From a practicing music therapist:

I was preparing for a presentation to the Parkinson’s Association and did a little casual reading…..”Biomedical Foundations of Music Therapy” has served me well.

From a music therapy professor:

I have seen over and over how empowering your teaching has been to many students. Their understanding of the application of music therapy as well as moving the field forward in the world increases significantly as they grow in their understanding of the Biomedical theory.

Also from a music therapy educator:

I want to thank you again so very much for the stimulating discussion last Wednesday between you and some of my grad students. They are truly engaged with the biomedical model because it makes total sense to them. Perhaps that is where the trust needs to be…the music therapy of the future. It just makes sense to them and there is no need to try to ‘convince’.

From a recent webinar:

“I very much enjoyed the webinar “Music and the Brain”. It was VERY informative. Please have him back again if you can. I went to a music therapy seminar on Friday the 25th and they had a neurologist who spoke and he basically said the same thing as Dr. Taylor (actually Dr. Taylor was better).”

Biomedical Foundations of Music as Therapy
2nd Edition, 2010 – Barton Publications
Prof. Dale B. Taylor, Ph.D., MTBC

* Please email the author for orders of 6 or more copies

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