Dr. John Carpente Interviewed on Autism and Music Therapy on TBN Network


Why it is that modern science is so occupied with large statistical studies, and is not at all invested in the qualitative aspects of working with one person and or phenomena at a time? All of the hoopla with evidence-based practice, which I feel is extremely important for the future of the field of music therapy and health, seems, to me, to be de-emphasizing “clinical-based practice”- which I’ll informally define as a practice being informed by the process clinical of experience. How many studies how you read in which the research is more about numbers then people, and in turn, it loses sight of the core deficits of a particular diagnosis that it is claiming to treat?

To that end, I’ve just returned from giving a presentation at a prominent autism organization in NYC in which I discussed the effectiveness of integrating the DIR Model and interactive music therapy with children with ASD. I used video excerpts from sessions to illustrate the concepts and to demonstrate the social-emotional gains that each child experienced through their therapy process. The President of this particular organization, who was in tears, asks, “where’s the evidence to support this approach?” He continues to say that, “although your work is valuable and amazing, individual cases can not contribute to science. We need the evidence.” I replied with a wonderful quote by the world famous neuroscientist, V.S. Ramachandran, “I believe that individual cases have everything to contribute to science. I asked him, “Imagine I were to present a pig to a skeptical scientist, insisting it could speak English, and then waved my hand, and the pig spoke English. Would it really make […]

It is with great sorrow that I share with you the news…

It is with great sorrow that I share with you the news that Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D. died on April 27, 2010. Dr. Greenspan was the world’s foremost authority on clinical work with infants and young children with developmental and emotional difficulties. His work will continue to guide parents, professionals and researchers all over the world. He will be missed.

Thank you Dr. Greenspan for all of the knowlesge and wisdom that you have shared throughout the years. It was an honor and a privilage to be a part of your Weds afternoon clinical discussions/case conferences. Your work has, and will continue to influence my life as a  therapist, educator and most of all as a parent.

Thank you,


Individual Music-Centered Assessment Profile Assessing Level II on the IMCAP-NDRC: Musical (self) Regulation

The Individual Music-Centered Assessment Profile for Neurodevelopmental Disorders of Relating and Communicating (IMCAP-NDRC®) is a population specific, music-centered based music therapy assessment profiling system targeting specific areas of musical resposnsiveness pertaining to the child’s ability to engage, relate and communicate within in the context of musical play. This post includes the assessment process of Level 2, Musical (self) Regulation of the IMCAP-NDRD.  It is imperative to keep in mind that the entire assessment process, which includes levels 1-6, is all withn the context of live, improvised musical interation between the child and therapist.

IMCAP-NDRC: Assessing Level II- Musical (self) Regulation


Musical (self) regulation refers to the strategies that a child employs in order increase his/her attention to the music being processed, either receptively or interactively. This includes the child’s ability to maintain calmness while being “available” for interaction through a wide range of sensory experiences (i.e. auditory, visual, propreoception, tactile, etc.). In assessing musical (self) regulation, the therapist is observing the child’s ability to achieve  a state of attention while experiencing music, either interactively and/or receptively. Within the context of musical play or receptive musical experiences, the therapist is observing the duration and the quality of the child’s ability to experience shared attention while live improvised music is being processed. Duration of musical (self) regulation is assessed by musical measures. The quality of musical (self) regulation is determined by the child’s ability to co-regulate and experience shared attention during musical interactions or receptive musical experiences. To that end, the therapist must be aware and mindful to include a wide range of musical elements and affect within the clinical improvisation, while observing the child’s ability to maintain calmness. In observing the child, the therapist will attempt to determine […]

Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy & DIR/Floortime Model: PowerPoint from the Mid Atlantic & Great Lakes Regional Conferences, 2010

Hi all,

Attached is a compiled version of the powerpoints that I presented at the Great Lakes and Mid Atlantic Regional Music Therapy Conferences on the use of NRMT within the DIR/Floortime framework.  Best, John

MAR 2010 CMTE DIR-Music


In the context of a music therapy process, the developing child begins to exhibit the ability to self-regulate, and  displays signs of musical awareness. This may lead the child to be interested in playing an instrument while the therapist attempts to faciliate music engagement and interaction through improvisation. The moment this happens, the child’s sensory motor system comes into play. This may be followed by the child’s ability to motor-plan as he/she executes an idea to play an instrument. In addition, there is an intent to do something (play instrument) based on his/her own wish or desire, which is then carried out by the “doing” of an idea to play. So, the next step is to try to determine the child’s motive to play an instrument. Is it based on his/her intent to engage and relate to therapist’s music, or is it based on the child’s desire to fulfill a sensory need which may have nothing at all to do with relating to another person. That being said, if we are working within a relationship-based framework, the motive or wish behind the intent of the child is what we want to understand- the general goal may be for the child to engage in music making for the purpose of relating and communicating, musically and interpersonally, while actively engaging with the therapist in the context of musical play.

If there is the intent to play in a related manner to the therapist’s music, emotionality may now be entering into the picture-  a combination of sensory-motor-affect is being displayed, as well as the integration of  various sensory stimuli necessary for co-active music making (auditory, visual, tactile, etc.). In short, once the activity becomes interactive, or related in some fashion, there is […]

Individualized Music-Centered Assessment Profile for Child with Autism

 The IMCAP® is a population based, music-centered assessment profiling system targeting specific  areas of musical responsiveness as they pertain to musical interactions. The IMCAP’s goal is to create a Musical-Emotional Profile for each child being assessed. In essence, the IMCAP is basically painting a musical portrait of the child.

Although the IMCAP® is a music-centered based assessment, each of the seven levels of musical responsiveness are based on social-emotional development and are consistent with the DIR®/Floortime™ Model, Jean Piaget and Margaret Mahler.

Each level of musical responsiveness are being assessed within the context of interactive musical play between the therapist/s and the child, while observing the child through various modes of musical interaction (instruments, voice, movement, & gestures). Each level is evaluated based on the duration and quality of the child’s musical responsiveness within the context of music play, and, the type of the support (i.e. visual cues, verbal, gestural cues, high affect, etc.) that the therapist utilizies to assist the child in a particular musical area.

Seven levels of Musical Responsiveness:

  1. Musical awareness: the awareness that the child displays of the music and any of its facets (elements); how and if the child processes, on any level observable, the music as a whole and/or specific elements.
  2. Musical (self) regulation: the child’s ability to remain calm, interested and available during musical interactions over a wide range of affects and emotions; how the child self soothes and takes in the sights and sounds in the musical environment; the ability to use sensory modulation during musical play
  3. Musical mutuality/engagement & forming relationships: the child’s ability to relate (the quality of the relatedness) to the music and therapist through a range of […]