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Music Sensory Orientation Training

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Music Sensory Orientation Training

What is Music Sensory Orientation Training (MSOT)?  MSOT is the use of music, presented live or recorded, to stimulate arousal and recovery of wake states and facilitate meaningful responsiveness and orientation to time, place, and person. In more advanced recovery of developmental stages, training would involve active engagement in simple musical exercises to increase vigilance and train basic attention maintenance with emphasis on quantity rather than quality of response (Ogata 1995). Essentially we are using music and sensory based methods to access sensory channels, modify state, and provide sensory stimulation for growth.

Who can benefit? Individual with sensory processing disorder, aging older adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s, and individuals with developmental disabilities.

What is the goal? increase vigilance and train basic attention maintenance with emphasis on quality of response.

I recently completed my special project focusing on this NMT technique. I created a handbook for therapists including intervention ideas, song choices, instrument ideas and various materials to stimulate the senses. The intention of my handbook is to encourage therapists to feel confident in being able to stimulate arousal and recovery of wake states in individuals whom are high to severely low functioning or display a lack of arousal due to aging or disability. This arousal can be achieved by stimulating all of the human senses. The human body can be stimulated in ways, from sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. As music therapists, we rely greatly on the use of music to promote significant responsiveness, however, we can creatively combine music with various mediums to create a holistic and engaging approach to awakening. The handbook is categorized by sense; touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing, and for each sense tips and tools are provided to guide you in developing sensory based interventions that can be used to awaken each human sense in a gentle, inviting manor to awaken the life inside of all of us.

Here is a sneak peek showing some suggested ideas to utilize within MSOT.

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Happy awakening!


  • April 13, 2017

    Hi! I love your posts, I was wondering if you might have a video in mind that demonstrates this technique in action.