Bonding Through Music: Music Therapy as Health Promotion for Mothers and Children at a Public Health Clinic

  • Tora Söderström GadenEmail author
  • Gro Trondalen


This research study explores ways in which music therapy can contribute to supporting new parents and their children during the first year of life. In addition, it examines the health promotion of a carefully designed music therapy program. We undertook the study at a public health clinic that was part of the Norwegian primary child services and asked nine first-time mothers and their infants to attend a weekly music therapy program for 2 months. The group of participants was non-clinical. The study was inspired by new, developmentally informed theory, as well as context-sensitive theory related to the development of a motherhood constellation in a contextual setting. Its research method was qualitative and explorative, and its data included semi-structured interviews undertaken after the program was concluded. We analyzed the interviews in accordance with interpretative phenomenological analysis and focused on each participant’s description of her experiences. The results indicated that the mothers experienced positive development at a personal level, within their relationships with their children, and in relation to their everyday lives. The results also indicated that the music therapy group at the public health clinic had the potential to increase mother-infant interaction and bonding and to support and empower first-time mothers in their new role. Participants also drew attention to the emergence of a social network as a result of their shared participation in the program. Based on our findings, we found that participation in the music therapy group promoted the health of both mother and child. Supporting and strengthening parents during their child’s first years of life should be an important part of public health work, and music therapy has shown potential to be a contribution in this work.


Music therapy Mother Infant Health promotion Health musicking Communicative musicality Song Group Bonding Public health Parenthood 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Akershus University HospitalOsloNorway
  2. 2.Center for Research in Music and Healththe Norwegian Academy of MusicOsloNorway

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