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Julian O’Kelly
International Journal of Palliative Nursing, Vol. 8, Iss. 3, 01 Mar 2002, pp 130 - 136

As the music therapy profession has developed internationally over the last 25years, so has its role in palliative care. Music is a highly versatile and dynamic therapeutic modality, lending itself to a variety of music therapy techniques used to benefit both those living with life-threatening illnesses and their family members and caregivers. This article will give a broad overview of the historical roots of music therapy and introduce the techniques that are employed in current practice. By combining a review of mainstream music therapy practice involving musical improvisation, songwriting and receptive/recreational techniques with case material from my own experience, this article aims to highlight the potential music therapy holds as an effective holistic practice for palliative care, whatever the care setting.

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