Request for appointment

Chennai School of Music Therapy

Taking Traditions to Clinical Practice

Program Director

Dr. Sumathy Sundar



Prof. Sumathy Sundar, Ph.D. MA(Indian Music), MA (Applied Psychology) and Fellow of IMC University of Applied Sciences, Krems, Austria is a medical music therapist, senior educator and a researcher who  has been researching in the fields of music medicine/music therapy since 2002 with specific emphasis on developing a culturally sensitive approach in music therapy education, clinical practice and research in India. Her vision is  to integrate  Indian traditional healing practices in modern clinical music therapy practice and scientifically endorse these applications by high quality research.  She has been actively engaged in music therapy   education since 2011 and developed the first professional training programs in music therapy in India through the Chennai School of Music Therapy. She also developed the first hospital based music therapy programs from a health sciences university,  Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth based in Pondicherry with plethora of courses  ranging from a one year PG Diploma to Masters degree in Music Therapy eventually leading to a Ph.D. program in music therapy.  Her strong interests are in inter-disciplinary collaborative research in music therapy with health care and allied health care professionals which has resulted in around 60  publications. An advocator of music therapy, she has a strong international presence through her regular national and international presentations on music therapy, winning national and international awards and recognitions. 

Research Interests

1.       Anthropological Approach to Music Therapy
2.       Objectifying Traditional Healing Systems in Music Therapy Applications
3.       Ragas, Rasas, Time Theory of Ragas and Chronobiological Implications
4.       Community Health and Music
5.       Inter-disciplinary collaborations in patient care outcomes
6.       Mind Body Medicine
Research Supervision
1.       Music Therapy in-utero
2.       MT as procedural support in hospitals 
3.       MT in pain management
4.       Music-listening  and Alcoholic dependency Syndrome

1. Chair, Education and Training Commission, World Federation of Music Therapy 2014-2017; 2017-2020
2. Founding Member, International Association for Music and Medicine
3. Member, Board of Directors, IAMM 2014-till now
4. Editorial Board Member
    Journal of Basic, Clinical and Applied Health Sciences
    Music and Medicine
    Music Therapy Today

1.       MT Advocacy Award in the year 2014  during World Congress of Music Therapy held in Austria from World Federation of Music Therapy            - International Award
2.       Health Care Excellence Award in Music Therapy year 2014 – Indian Medical Association and Government of Andhra Pradesh.Hyderabad            – National Award
3.       Individual Contribution to Music Therapy Award – Global Foundations 2013. New Delhi – National Award
4.       Music Therapy Excellence Award for best Music Therapy Institute in India(Chennai School of Music Therapy)  by Indy Foundation and              Government of Telangana in the year 2018 at Hyderabad - National award
Recent Publications

Year 2018

1. Ajmera S, Sundar S, Amirtha Ganesh B, Bhavanani AB, Dayanidi G, Ezhumalai G. A comparative study on  the effect of music therapy alone and a combination of music & yoga therapies on the psycho- physiological parameters of cardiac patients posted for angiograph. J Basic Clin Appl Health Sci.2018;2:163-8

2. Ramesh B, Sundar S, Jayapreetha R, Samal S, Ghose S. Effects of culture-based chants on labour pain during the latent stage of labour in primigravidae mothers: A randomized co ntrolled trial. SBV Journal of Basic, Clinical and Health Sciences. 2018;2:16-19

3. Sundar S, Parmar PN. Music therapy clinical practice and research initiatives in India: Bridge between the experiences of traditional music healing practices and its scientific validations. International Journal of Ayurveda and Pharma Research. 2018; 6(2):1-4

Year 2017
1. Vadlamudi H, Palanisamy S, Sundar S, Rajaramalingam, Dhandapani G, Karuppiah P. The Effectiveness of Music and Mother's Voice on Pain Reduction During Venepuncture in Neonates- A Randomized Control Trial. Int. J. Adv. Res. 2017;5(2), 2575-2579

2.  Mathew D, Sundar S, Subramaniam E, Parmar PN. Music therapy as group singing improves Geriatric Depression Scale score and loneliness in institutionalized geriatric adults with mild depression: A randomized controlled study. International Journal of Educational and Psychological Researches. 2017 Jan 1;3(1):6.

Year 2016

1. Sundar S, Parmar PN.  Music therapy: Bridging traditional healing system and modern science. Ann.SBV, July-Dec 2016;5:33-35

2. Sundar S, Parmar PN. Musico genetics: A new specialty on horizon. Ann. SBV, July-Dec 2016; 5 : 31-32

3. Sumathy S, Parmar PN. Effect of a Single Musical Cakra Activation Manoeuvre on Body Temperature: An exploratory Study: Ancient Sci. Life 2016; 36:3-5.

4. Sundar Sumathy, Durai Pavitra,Parmar Parin N. Indian classical music as receptive music therapy Improves Tridoshic balance and major Depression in
    a Pregnant  Woman. International journal of Ayurveda and pharma research. 2016;4(9):8-11

5. Parin PN, Sundar S. Music therapy in Neonatology: What is known and what is not known? Ann.SBV.2016;4(1):38-41

6. Sundar S, Ramesh B, Varathan K. Live music therapy in waiting area of intensive care units: a novel concept for the betterment of close relatives of ICU patients. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences [Online], 4.3 (2016): 950-952. Web. 8 May. 2017

7. Sundar S, Ramesh B, Dixit PB, Venkatesh S, Das P, Gunasekaran D. Live music therapy as an active focus of attention for pain and behavioral symptoms of distress during pediatric immunization. Clinical pediatrics. 2016 Jul;55(8):745-8.

Year 2015

1. Sundar, S. Music Therapy Education in India: Developmental Perspectives.  In: Goodman K. (ed) Music Therapy Education and Training: Adapting to a Changing World. Charles C Thomas; 2015. Springfield, IL. 202-16
2. Sundar, S. Srinivasan Vellore AR. International Conference Proceedings Titled " Current Trends in Music Therapy Education and Research. Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth. International Journal of  Pharma and BioSciences. October 2015.
3. Sundar S, Ramesh B, Rajasekaran A. Effect Of Relaxing Music On Blood Pressure And Heart Rate In Hospitalized Pre-Hypertensive Women In 3rd Trimester Pregnancy: A Randomized Control Study. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research.  2015;8(5): 179-181
Year 2014

1. Sobana R, Sundar S, Dixit P. A Study On The Effects Of Music Therapy In Patients Posted For Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. In 2015 Apl:6(2): (B)                  307- 313.
2. Sundar S. Understanding music therapy: Clearing misconceptions. Ann.SBV, Jan-June 2014, 3(1)

National and International invited talks/key note speeches

1. Prof. Sumathy Sundar, Director was invited as a faculty along with the other faculties  Dr. Baishali Mukherjee and Dr. Parin Parmar to conduct a pre-conference workshop on “Music Therapy and Stress Management on 29 11 2018 during the 20th National Conference on Pulmonary Medicine 2018 held at Ahamedabad.

2. Prof. Sumathy Sundar, Director was invited as a faculty to present on “Music therapy in Pulmonary Medicine” during the 20th National Conference on Pulmonary Medicine 2018(NAPCOM2018) on 30 11 2018 

3. Prof. Sumathy Sundar, Director was invited as a spotlight speaker on “Biocultural basis for therapeutic moments in music therapy” 0n 09-11-2018 for Best Practices day at IMC University of Applied Sciences, Krems, Austria

4. Prof. Sumathy Sundar, Director delivered an invited speech on “Music therapy to promote lifestyle changes and complement evidence based medical practice” on 09-10-2018 at AIMST University, Malaysia
5. Sundar Sumathy. Music Therapy Clinical Practice and Research Perspectives: Indian Context. Asian Confederation of Music Therapy. Taipei, Taiwan Nov. 18-20 2016 available at
6. Sundar Sumathy. Integrating cultural music therapy approaches with pregnant women in antenatal wards in a south Indian Hospital. 4th International Conference on Music and Medicine. Beijing, June 15, 2016. International Association for Music and Medicine available at
7. Sundar S. Current Research Initiatives in Music Therapy at SBV. Proceedings of 3rd International Conference of Music Therapy. “Best Practised Models of Music Therapy Clinical Practice and Research.  Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Pondicherry, India. 16 Feb. 2016. 29-35
8.  Sundar S. The role of traditions in the therapeutic relationship maintained by the therapist and the client during the music therapy process.  “Best Practice Day in Music Therapy” The IMC University of Applied Sciences, Krems, Austria, Nov. 2015 available at
9. Sundar S. The Science of music and music therapy. Keynote address. International Conference on Science of music. Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam available at
10. Sundar S. Understanding the evidence-based practice of music therapy. Indo-Global Education Summit and Expo. 2014. Hyderabad. 11, Sep. 2014. Available at,%20Clearing%20Misconceptions%20and%20experiencing%20therapeutic%20aspects%20of%20music.pdf
11. Sundar S. Traditions and Cultural Diversity in Music Therapy. Spotlight speech. Proceedings of 14th World Congress of Music Therapy. The IMC University of Applied Sciences, Krems, Austria. July 7-12, 2014 available at
12. Sundar Sumathy. Music Therapy Training from West to East” Roundtable. Proceedings of 14th WFMT World Congress of Music Therapy. Vienna/Krems. Austria.  July 7-12, 2014. 248-249  available at under
Research Projects under Supervision/Collaboration at SBV
1.      Effect of Music Therapy On Fatigue And Anxiety Levels Of Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis Procedure.
         Principal investigator: Dr. Shobana Jaiganesh, Associate Professor, Dept. of Physiology,                Co investigators-Dr. Sumathy Sundar, Director,  CMTER;   
         Dr. Hemachandar, Associate Professor, Department of Nephrology

2.      Does Distraction and Active Focus of Attention with Music Enhance Patient’s Comfort under Regional Anesthesia: A Randomized  Controlled

        Principal Investigator: Dr. Hemanth Kumar, Professor, Dept of Anesthesia; Co- Investigators- Dr. Ravishankar, Professor, Department of Anesthesia; Dr.       
        Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER; Dr. Balanehru Subramanian, Deputy director, CIDRF; Dr. Vellore A.R. Srinivasan, Professor, Department of                              Biochemistry;   Dr. B. Sivaprakash, Professor., Department of Psychiatry.

3.      Vestibular Stimulation and Indian Hammock Versus Music Therapy in Prevention and Management of Infantile Colic in Term Infants: A                    Prospective Open Labeled Randomized Controlled Trial.
         Student investigator: - Dr. S Ravikumar, Dept. of Pediatrics;
         Guide: Dr D. Gunasekaran, Professor, Dept. of Pediatrics; Co Guides: Dr. Srinivasa Raghavan, Assistant Professor, Dept of Pediatrics; Dr.Sumathy Sundar,             Director, CMTER.

4.      Effect of Music Listening on Hemodynamic Changes During Application of Erich’s Arch Bar: A Randomized Control Trial.
         Student investigator: - Dr.Rajkumar, MDS:Oral &Maxofacial Surgery;
         Guide: Dr.Yuvaraj.V MDS, Professor, Dept. of Oral &Maxofacial Surgery;  Co guide: Dr.Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER

5.       Effect of Music Therapy on Anxiety, Emotional Perception and Tolerability Levels of the Patients Posted for MRI Procedure.
          Student investigator: S. Prashanthi; Guide: Dr.Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER;
          Co Guides: Dr. B R Nagaraj, Professor, Department of Radiology and Dr. B. Sivaprakash, Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry.
6.      A Comparative Study of the Effect of Music and Yoga Interventions on Physiological and Psychological Parameters in Patients Posted for               Angiogram.
         Student investigator– Samay Ajmera; Guide: Dr.Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER;
         Co- Guide: Dr.B.Amirtha Ganesh, Professor & Head, Dept Cardiology; Co guide – Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, Deputy Director, CYTER; G. Dayanidy, lecturer, CYTER

7.      Study on the Effect of Music Therapy on Patients with Pre-Hypertension.
         Student investigator- Suguna Varadarajan; Guide: Dr.Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER; Co-guide –Dr.R. Jayasingh, Professor & Head , Dept of Medicine

8.       Effect of music on the initiation of lactation and maternal breastfeeding satisfaction levels.
         Student investigator – Bhuvaneswari Ramesh; Guide: Dr.Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER; Co- guides: Dr. Seetesh Ghose, Professor & Head, Dept of               Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Gunasekaran D, Professor, Dept of Paediatrics,  Dr.B.Sivaprakash,  Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry

9.       Evaluation of Maternal and Fetal Health with Music Therapy In- Utero.
          Principal Investigator: Dr.Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER; Co Investigators:  Dr. Seetesh Ghose, Professor, Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Dr.                  Balanehru Subramanian, Deputy Director, CIDRF

11.     Effect of Music, Imagery and Relaxation Training on Pain and Psycho-Physiological Parameters in Patients posted for Percutaneous                        Coronary interventions.
          Principal Investigator: Dr.Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER; Dr.Amirtha Ganesh, Professor & Head, Dept. of Cardiology; Dr.Maria Montserrat Gimeno,                  Associate professor, State University of New York at  New Paltz; Dr. B. Sivaprakash, Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry; Dr. Vellore A R Srinivasan, Professor,                Department of Biochemistry and Bhuvaneswari Ramesh, Tutor, CMTER
Completed Research Projects

15.   A Study on the effect of Music Therapy on Labor Pain During first stage of Labor.
Principal Investigator: Bhuvaneswari Ramesh, Tutor, CMTER; Guide: Dr. Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER; Co- Guide: Dr. Sunitha Samal, Professor, Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

16.  Various Modalities in Treatment of Tinnitus- A Comparative Study.
Student Investigator: Dr. Shruthi Narayanam, Dept.of ENT; Guide: Dr. V. Nirmal Coumare, Professor, Department of ENT Co-Guide: Dr. P. Karthikeyan, Professor, Dept. of ENT; Co-Guide: Dr. Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER

17.  Effect of Music Listening on State Anxiety of Patients Undergoing Dermatosurgery Procedures under Local Anesthesia.
Student Investigator: Dr D.Divya; Guide: Dr.S Ambujam, Professor, Dept. of Dermatology; Co-Guide: Dr. Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER;  Dr. B. Siva Prakash, Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry.
18.   A Study on the Effect of Adjunct Music Listening on the Outcome of Depressive Disorders.
Student Investigator: Karthik Balakrishnan; Guide: Dr. B.Siva Prakash, Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry; Co-Guide: Dr. Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER; Dr.Sukanto Sarkar, Associate professor, Dept. of Psychiatry
Intellectual Property Rights

1.      SBV Model of Development and Implementation of Curriculum of M.Sc. Medical Music Therapy. Copyright granted on 19.9.17. Registration No. L-69795/2017.
Sumathy Sundar, NAnanthakrishnan, KR Sethuraman

2.      "MEETS"- Musically Express Your Emotions and Thoughts for Success. Copyright granted on 11.10.17.  Registration No.L- 69472/2017.
Dr. Sobana Jaiganesh, Dr. Sumathy Sundar

3.      SBV Model of Credit-based Music Therapy Internship Training. Copyright application registered to vide diary no. 15799/2017-CO/L dated 9.11.17
Dr. Sumathy Sundar


Powered by Sixthstar