What needs to be done on the long road to evidence-based music therapy? First of all, an adequate research strategy is required. For this purpose the general methodology for therapy research should be adopted. Additionally, music therapy needs a variety of methods of allied fields to contribute scientific findings, including mathematics, natural sciences, behavioral and social sciences, as well as the arts. Pluralism seems necessary as well as inevitable. At least two major research problems can be identified, however, that make the path stony: the problem of specificity and the problem of eclecticism. Neuroscientific research in music is giving rise to new ideas, perspectives, and methods; they seem to be promising prospects for a possible contribution to a theoretical and empirical scientific foundation for music therapy. Despite the huge heterogeneity of theoretical approaches in music therapy, an integrative model of working ingredients in music therapy is
useful as a starting point for empirical studies in order to question what specifically works in music therapy. For this purpose, a heuristic model, consisting of five music therapy working factors (attention modulation, emotion modulation, cognition modulation, behavior modulation, and communication modulation) has been developed by the Center for Music Therapy Research (Viktor Dulger Institute) in Heidelberg. Evidence shows the effectiveness of music therapy for treating certain diseases, but the question of what it is in music therapy that works remains largely unanswered. The authors conclude with some questions to neuroscientists, which we hope may help elucidate relevant aspects of a possible link between the two disciplines.
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