Music-supported training is more efficient than functional motor training for recovery of fine motor skills in stroke patients

Sabine Schneider, Thomas Münte, Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells, Michael Sailer, Eckart Altenmüller*

*Corresponding author for this work
54 Citations (Scopus)


MOTOR IMPAIRMENTS ARE COMMON AFTER STROKE but efficacious therapies for these dysfunctions are scarce. Extending an earlier study on the effects of music-supported training (MST), behavioral indices of motor function were obtained before and after a series of training sessions to assess whether this new treatment leads to improved motor functions. Furthermore, music-supported training was contrasted to functional motor training according to the principles of constraint-induced therapy (CIT). In addition to conventional physiotherapy, 32 stroke patients with moderately impaired motor function and no previous musical experience received 15 sessions of MST over a period of three weeks, using a manualized, step-bystep approach. A control group consisting of 15 patients received 15 sessions of CIT in addition to conventional physiotherapy. A third group of 30 patients received exclusively conventional physiotherapy and served as a control group for the other three groups. Fine as well as gross motor skills were trained by using either a MIDI-piano or electronic drum pads programmed to emit piano tones. Motor functions were assessed by an extensive test battery. MST yielded significant improvement in fine as well as gross motor skills with respect to speed, precision, and smoothness of movements. These improvements were greater than after CIT or conventional physiotherapy. In conclusion, with equal treatment intensity, MST leads to more pronounced improvements of motor functions after stroke than CIT.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMusic Perception
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)271-280
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 04.2010

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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