“. . . . after more than 100 years of study on this topic, a body of knowledge now exists to document the many medical, social, and emotional benefits of music.” 2003 – Jayne Standley, Ph.D.

Research has shown that music has a profound effect on the human body and psyche.  The practice of music therapy is based on well-researched clinical and empirical evidence. There is evidence-based proof that music can aid in many different areas, such as pain management, depression, and anxiety.   Scientific studies show that music can actually stimulate the activity of the brain and that lullabies are soothing, rhythmic stimuli that help with the organization of the brain.  Music has been shown to produce a calming experience for infants in the NICU, allowing them to return to quiet sleep more quickly following stressful medical procedures.

The PAL® technology is based on research conducted at the Florida State University by Jayne Standley, Ph. D.  An FSU faculty member since 1976, Dr. Standley is recognized throughout the United States as the foremost authority on medical music therapy. Researching the effect of music on premature babies, or “preemies,” she found that they increased their sucking rates 2.5 times when exposed to music, thus helping to increase their weight. Aimed specifically at addressing a long-standing problem among premature infants – delayed proficiencies in learning to suck – Standley’s musical pacifier has demonstrated what have been called “amazing” results in repeated tests done at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.  The device delivers music reinforcement each time a premature infant sucks a specially wired pacifier. Infants learn to suck along with reassuring sounds of lullabies.  Standley’s work with preemies also led to the establishment of most of the music protocols used in hospital neonatal units today.

Clinical Studies

-Standley, J.M. (2000). “The effect of contingent music to increase non-nutritive sucking of premature infants.” Pediatric Nursing, 26(5), 493-495, 498-499.

-Standley, J.M. (2003). “The effect of music-reinforced non-nutritive sucking on feeding rate of premature infants.”  Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 18(3), 169-173.

-Standley, J., Cassidy, J., Grant, R., Cevasco, A., Szuch, C., Nguyen, J., Walworth, D., Procelli, D., Jarred, J., Adams, K.  (accepted).  “The effect of music reinforcement for  non-nutritive sucking via the PAL® (Pacifier-Activated Lullabies Apparatus) on achievement of oral feeding by premature infants in the NICU.”  Pediatric Nursing.  June 2010

-Cevasco AM, Grant RE. “Effects of the pacifier activated lullaby on weight gain of premature infants.” J Music Therapy, 2005 Summer;42(2):123-39.

-Whipple J. “The effect of music-reinforced nonnutritive sucking on state of preterm, low birthweight infants experiencing heelstick.” J Music Therapy, 2008 Fall;45(3):227-72.

Host Steve Mencher talks with Dr. Jayne Standley, Director of the Music Therapy Program, Florida State University Interview with Dr. Jayne Standley