Aigen, who is an improvisational-based music therapist and an alum of NYU, has spent nearly his entire career at NYU Steinhardt, both in the Music Therapy program and the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Center. His work has primarily focused on children and adolescents with emotional and developmental delays and those on the autism spectrum. Aigen's research uses musicological analyses to reveal connections between the elements of music and common cognitive, emotional, and physical goals in music therapy. In addition to his duties at NYU, he maintains an active performing career.
Aigen has conducted research, lectured widely, and written numerous books and articles on music therapy, focusing specifically on centering the music therapy practice on music itself and using music as therapy. "This re-centering of music therapy practice on the music itself both as an agent and manifestation of change is important in the profession as it emphasizes what is unique about what music therapy offers clients," notes the AMTA announcement.
"His focus on connections between musical elements and human behavior/experience truly deepen the practice and understanding of music therapy as a whole. His extensive research and writings have furthered this understanding of the impact of musical engagement and expression in terms of intra- and interpersonal growth and development," says the AMTA statement.
Dr. Aigen was previously awarded the AMTA’s Arthur Flagler Fultz Research Award for his study “Music in Everyday Autistic Life: The Significance of Music for Autistic Adults,” and in 2004 he received the Research/Publications Award from AMTA.
"Through his accomplishments and steadfast commitment to furthering music therapy, it is evident that Dr. Aigen has left an indelible mark on the profession," states the AMTA announcement.