Spinal Cord Injury

Our research in spinal cord injury has explored the effects of therapeutic group singing programs on voice and respiratory function for people with quadriplegia. We have also been exploring accessible online telehealth options for delivering therapy, including development of customised virtual reality platforms.

Current projects:

  • Online music therapy for people with quadriplegia: A feasibility study

Previous projects:

  • We have examined the effect of a therapeutic songwriting protocol on self-concept and wellbeing for people adjusting to a spinal cord injury in our ARC-funded songwriting research, Songwriting for Self-Concept.


Publications: Singing in Spinal Injury

Tamplin, J., Loveridge, B., Clarke, K., Li, Y. & Berlowitz, D. (2019). Development and feasibility testing of an online virtual reality platform for delivering therapeutic group singing interventions for people living with spinal cord injury. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. doi: 10.1177/1357633X19828463

Tamplin, J., Baker, F., Buttifant, M., & Berlowitz, D. J. (2014). The effect of singing training on voice quality and intensity for people with quadriplegia. Journal of Voice. 28(1), 128.e19–128.e26. doi.10.1016/j.jvoice.2013.08.017 

Tamplin, J., Baker, F., Grocke, D., & Berlowitz, D. J. (2014). A thematic analysis of the experience of group music therapy for people with chronic quadriplegia. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, 20(3), 256-268. doi: 10.1310/sci2003-236

Tamplin, J., Baker, F., Grocke, D., Brazzale, D., Pretto, J. J., Ruehland, W. R., et al. (2013). The effect of singing on respiratory function, voice, and mood following quadriplegia: A randomized controlled trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94(3), 426-434. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.10.006

Tamplin, J. (2011). Singing for respiratory muscle training: Using therapeutic singing and vocal interventions to improve respiratory function and voice projection for people with a spinal cord injury. In F. Baker & S. Uhlig (Eds.), Voicework in Music Therapy: Research and Practice. (pp. 147-170).  London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Tamplin, J., Brazzale, D., Pretto, J.J., Ruehland, W.R., Buttifant, M., Brown, D.J., Berlowitz, D.J. (2011). Assessment of breathing patterns and respiratory muscle recruitment during singing and speech in quadriplegia. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 92(2), 250-256. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2010.10.032

Tamplin, J. (2009). The link between singing and respiratory health for people with quadriplegia. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 20 (special issue), 45-55.

Publications: Songwriting in Spinal Injury

Roddy, C., Rickard, N., Tamplin, J. & Baker, F. A. (2018). Personal identity narratives of therapeutic songwriting participants following spinal cord injury: A case series analysis. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 41(4) doi.org/10.1080/10790268.2017.1364559 

Media Stories


Herald Sun – “Learning to breathe through singing” – Music therapy in quadriplegia


AARNet News – VR therapy research transforming perspectives – and improving lives


The Melbourne Newsroom: Music therapy receives National Disability Award nomination

ABC news story on National Disability Awards nomination


Channel 7 – The Daily Edition (live interview) – MT & VR project



Channel 7 – The Morning Show – interview about MT & VR research project


Huffington Post article on MT & VR research project

Pursuit article on MT & VR research: Spinal patients sing to breathe easy in virtual world

BBC radio London interview in vTime on MT & VR research project: International interview within virtual reality could be a world first



Herald Sun – “Songwriting Therapy Hits Right Notes” – Lucie Van Den Berg



Herald Sun – “Austin hospital music therapist uses song to help quadriplegics” – Adrian Bernecich

The Spin – Spinal Cord Injury BC – “Belt it out! Singing might improve your respiratory health, not to mention your frame of mind” – Cliff Bridges



Channel 10 news – Report on PhD quadriplegia research: “On Song