Three music therapists gathered around the AMTA-Pro microphone for an hour, and the resulting podcast is nothing short of amazing. Music therapists Megumi Azekawa, Jeanne Quam, and Steve Quam experience Parkinson’s from three vastly different perspectives. Megumi is involved in the clinical and music therapy research aspect; Steve lives inside Parkinson’s after being diagnosed with the condition; and Jeanne experiences Parkinson’s from the perspective of spouse and caregiver. All three music therapists share insights, experiences, and wisdom of great value to their colleagues. Of particular interest is Steve’s conversation about the impact of Parkinson’s on his ability to play flute, and his cross-country trips to raise awareness of Parkinson’s – trips taken via bicycle!

Music Therapy and Parkinson’s

Megumi Azekawa, MM, MT-BC
Jeanne Quam, MM, MT-BC
Steve Quam, MM, MT-BC

March, 2013

Megumi Azekawa, MM, MT-BC, Neurologic Music Therapist, currently works as a relief music therapist at Poudre Valley Hospital (Fort Collins, CO) and Medical Center of the Rockies (Loveland, CO) under University of Colorado Health. She also operates her own private practice, MusiClinic, which providing music therapy services in northern Colorado.

In this podcast, Megumi talks about her clinical work with a singing and vocal exercise group for individuals with PD based on her thesis study. Parkinson’s disease not only affects motor control but also speech and vocal abilities. In her group music therapy protocol, Megumi designs each exercise by utilizing neurologic music therapy techniques to improve speech volume, articulation clarity, voice quality, and speech rate in a fun and supportive environment.

After decades of experience as clinical music therapists, Steve and Jeanne Quam shifted their focus because of Steve’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease. Their conversation in this podcast focuses on Parkinson’s from the perspective of the patient and the care partner. Both are committed to maintaining quality of life as long as possible, and to supporting the mission of the Davis Phinney Foundation, “to help people living with Parkinson’s to live well today.”

Steve has Parkinson’s, but Parkinson’s doesn’t have Steve. Jeanne supported his 4,224 miles coast to coast bicycle ride in 2010. Steve motorcycled 16,140 miles from South Carolina to Fairbanks, Alaska, & back in 2011. He completed the 2011 Copper Triangle – 78 miles in one day with 2 climbs above 10,000 ft. & a 3rd climb above 11,000 ft. in the Colorado Rockies at age 65 with Parkinson’s. Steve’s 2012 Reunion Pedal for Parkinson’s solo unsupported bicycle ride stretched from Edisto Island/Beach, South Carolina to Newport, Oregon. Of particular interest to music therapists is Steve’s discussion about his playing flute during quiet moments on his trips.

Article about Steve on Davis Phinney Foundation website

Blog of Steve’s 2012 trip

Reference to Megumi’s masters thesis
Azekawa, M. (2011). The effect of singing exercise for people with Parkinsons’ disease: a pilot study. Unpublished master’s thesis.

Article about music therapy and Parkinson’s disease

Resources related to Parkinson’s
Davis Phinney Foundation (
Parkinson Disease Foundation (
Parkinson’s support group of Larimer County (