Cardiovascular patients’ perceptions of music therapy in the form of patient-preferred live music: Exploring service user experiences

Eric W. Selle, Michael J. Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: While a recent randomized feasibility study concerning patient-preferred live music (PPLM) with patients on a cardiovascular unit demonstrated it can be effective for reducing pain, anxiety, and depression, there is a dearth of research regarding service user perspectives of PPLM. Therefore, the purpose of this exploratory interpretivist study was to explore how inpatients on a cardiovascular unit perceive PPLM. Methods: Participants (N = 10) were adults on a cardiovascular unit in a university hospital in the upper Midwestern part of the United States. We individually interviewed patients who had received two PPLM sessions, used thematic analysis to analyze the data, and established trustworthiness by consulting with another published scholar. Results: Four themes emerged: (1) PPLM provides comfort and relaxation for patients while staying in the hospital; (2) PPLM ameliorates challenges experienced in the hospital environment, including anxiety, boredom, and loss of control; (3) PPLM evokes memories and connects patients to their past; and (4) PPLM provides a human connection and emotional support via dialogue, singing, and listening. Discussion: Participants had positive perceptions of PPLM and some results highlighting social aspects of PPLM differentiate it from music medicine. Implications for clinical practice, limitations, and suggestions for future research are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-74
Number of pages18
JournalNordic Journal of Music Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020



  • Music therapy
  • cardiovascular
  • experiences
  • patient preferred live music
  • perceptions
  • qualitative

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