Dr. Kent Nelson
Welcome to the ISQRMM. It is a fascinating organization exploring the relationship of music, medicine, and heath. My area of interest is music and (dis)abilities. A large amount of research has been conducted concerning disabilities, but considerably less so on music and disabilities. If we take the premise that music making often is an activity that provides a lifetime of enjoyment and health benefits, all individuals, even those with disabilities, need to be provided with the tools and strategies for success – and music has proved that it can do just that.
With physical disabilities, the difficulties are apparent. A person with a loss in hearing or sight may need aids to assist learning in general. These may include hearing aids or cochlear implants in the former and the use of audio recordings for the later. These devices would also be of benefit learning music. The loss of a limb may require a mechanical mechanism for success in learning a musical instrument. Learning disabilities can be just as debilitating as physical disabilities for some yet may be more difficult to detect. Studies in the area of learning disabilities, music, and the brain is an intricate and complex subject area that is still in its research infancy.
Considering these aspects, the musical aptitude for people with disabilities to learn and enjoy music spans the full spectrum from simple music making to profound artistic ability. The impact of learning and performing music with a disability as it pertains to the health and mental well-being of individuals is of great interest to ISQRMM and hence the focus of my research studies.