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Music Therapy: Journals and Databases


Because of the interdisciplinary nature of music therapy more than one database may be needed to locate relevant resources. Below are suggestions of music and science databases available through Gumberg Library:

Need Additional Help?

These resources are available for use 24/7: 

Get In Touch With Your Music Librarian

Terra Merkey

  • (412) 396-1542

A music therapy session in an elementary school

Music therapist Jenny Kirkwood works with a pupil at Tor Bank School in Dundonald, Northern Ireland

Source: Northern Ireland Executive. Creative Commons

Searching Databases

Ready to search? While there are differences moving between platforms, the search process is similar between databases. Explore the examples below to see how to search several databases on how music therapy can be used to help relieve the symptoms of dementia. Connecting the terms with AND tells the database to find articles that mention both music therapy and dementia. 


Enter all terms into one search bar.


Enter all terms into one search bar.


EBSCOhost supports a number of databases, including CINAHL and RILM (pictured below). Enter each search term into separate boxes for all databases. 


ProQuest is another large provider of databases such as the Music Periodicals Database below. Enter each search term into separate boxes for all databases. 

A soldier in a music therapy session

Army Staff Sergent Sean Young and music therapist Danielle Kalseth play guitar during a music therapy session at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska

Source: Airman 1st Class Caitlin Russell. Public Domain

Search Tips

Choosing A Topic

Forming and answering questions is a great way to determine a topic, narrow your search, and produce better results. This can come in the form of Who, What, When, Where, or How background questions. 

Want to narrow your topic even further? Explore the PICO method with this video created by Gumberg Library. 

Search Operators

AND - Connecting terms with AND tells databases to find articles and resources that mention both topics

  • music therapy AND palliative care

OR - Using OR broaden a search by telling the database to find articles that include either term. This can also come in useful if there is more than one word or phrase for your topic. 

  • Autistic Disorder OR Kanner's Syndrome

Check out this video produced by Gumberg Library to learn even more about search operators. 

Identifying Music Therapy Research

Many studies are available that are described as "music listening" or "music-based interventions". These involve musical activities that are implemented by health care professionals, family caregivers, or the patients themselves. While potentially valuable, these practices do not meet the AMTA or CBMT definitions of music therapy. When searching for resources evaluate the studies being presented by asking some questions:

  • Is a music therapist actively involved in the study?
  • Who is implementing the interventions?
  • What journal is this study or article published in?