Graduation Year

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Music

Major Professor

Victor C. Fung, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Bugos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Clint Randles, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Juan Sanchez-Ramos, M.D., Ph.D.

Keywords

bi-manual, corpus callosum, multi-extremital, neurodevelopment, uni-manual

Abstract

Tourette’s is currently considered a neurodevelopmental genetic disorder. Georges Gilles de la Tourette is given primary credit for the diagnoses of the disorder in the late 1800s. Clear answers have been elusive although modern research and improvements to neuroimaging have enabled the causal factors of Tourette’s Disorder (TD) to be examined with greater scrutiny. Currently, there is no known cure or pharmaceutical treatment that has been proven 100% effective for all patients and symptoms of Tourette’s. Anecdotally, there have been recent media and self-reports of people diagnosed with Tourette’s finding relief from their symptoms through involvement in focus-based activities such as video games, athletic endeavors and musical engagement, albeit little empirical evidence exists on these subjects. The author is seeking empirical data showing the influence of musical engagement on the symptoms of Tourette’s. This research does not focus on the receptive activity of listening to music, but engagement. This performance-based music making or engagement can be described as the body being physically involved in the creation and production of music which comes from such activities as playing a musical instrument or singing. This study seeks to answer the question, “does musical engagement influence the symptoms of Tourette’s?” A self-reported survey instrument was generated to question those claiming to be musicians who have been diagnosed with TD to explore what effect engaging in a musical activity has on their symptoms. Participants’ responses to ten questions were analyzed. The survey apex involved a Likert-type scale asking to what extent these musicians experienced changes in their symptoms. One hundred eighty-three (N = 183) respondents rated their perceptions from one to five where one equaled drastic symptoms increase by engaging in a musical activity and five equaled drastic symptoms decrease. The mean response from the scale was 4.45, clearly showing that these musicians with TD experienced a great deal of relief when engaged in their activity. This study presents evidence and support for research into neurodevelopmental and musical training correlations and a strong case for childhood music education as a means to facilitate this training.

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