WHAT IS MUSIC THERAPY?
Music therapy is the clinical application of music by an accredited music therapist to achieve non-musical goals in each individual or group. It is a recognized health profession in which music is used to address physical, emotional, cognitive, communicative, and social needs of clients. Activities include listening, moving, singing, and playing.
What Makes Us Stand Out
MUSIC THERAPY CREDENTIALS
Music therapists earn the credential MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified) after successful completion of:
a 4 year Music Therapy program approved by the American Music Therapy Association
1,200 hours of supervised clinical training
board certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.
Music therapists must demonstrate collegiate proficiencies in music theory, music history, voice, guitar, and piano.
Music therapists receive rigorous academic training in courses such as Anatomy & Physiology, Advance and Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, Social and Behavioral Science.
MUSIC THERAPY APPLICATIONS
According to the American Music Therapy Association, the most prevalent clinical populations served by music therapists include the following:
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
COMMON MUSIC THERAPY GOALS
Orientation to time, place, person
Gross/Fine motor coordination
Self-help (eating, toileting, bathing, dressing, etc)
QUALITY OF LIFE
MUSIC THERAPY FAQ
WHAT IF I'M INTERESTED IN MUSIC THERAPY BUT CAN'T READ MUSIC, SING, OR PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
The ability to respond to music is intrinsic within every person. Since music therapy addresses non-musical goals, patients need no prior music training or advanced skill to participate in music therapy sessions.
HOW LONG DOES EACH THERAPY SESSION TAKE?
Depending on the individual or group, music therapy sessions generally range between 30-60 minutes.
HOW MANY SESSIONS SHOULD ONE PARTICIPATE IN?
Depending on the individual’s needs, music therapists may only perform a handful of sessions with a client, such as in hospital settings. Music therapists may only meet with a client once, such as providing support for patients who are passing away and their families. Clients with chronic, prolonged, or reoccurring diagnoses may see a therapist for generally up to two years, at which point objectives should have achieved and wellness strategies may take the place of music therapy. However, every client-therapist relationship is unique and no generalization will appropriately include treatment for all clients.
CAN HEALTHY INDIVIDUALS BENEFIT FROM MUSIC THERAPY?
Absolutely! Healthy individuals benefit from music therapy through:
Learning relaxation techniques
Maintenance of vital physical exercise
Socialization and fun recreation
Stress reduction through active music making, such as drumming
Stress reduction through passive listening
WHAT IS A TYPICAL MUSIC THERAPY SESSION LIKE?
Since music therapists serve a wide variety of population with many different types of needs, each session is uniquely designed. Some common intervention include but are not limited to:
Songwriting and/or improvisation for original pieces of music
Lyric analysis and discussion
Singing, humming, vocalizing to improve articulation, language acquisition, etc
Interactive music making (instruments)
Music and movement
Learning through music
Guided imagery, music, and relaxation exercises
Using instruments to improvise unspoken emotions
IS MUSIC THERAPY SUPPORTED BY RESEARCH?
Yes! Music therapy is an established health profession. Its practices are evidence based and substantiated by a body of literature, such as the Journal of Music Therapy and Music Therapy Perspectives, among others.
Click here to be redirected to AMTA’s research.
WHAT DISTINGUISHES MUSIC THERAPY FROM OTHER THERAPIES THAT UTILIZE MUSIC AS PART OF THEIR TREATMENT?
When comparable professions (i.e., educators, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists) report using music as part of their treatment, it only involves specific, isolated techniques within a predetermined protocol, using a pre-arranged aspect of music to address specific issues. This differs from music therapists' qualification to provide interventions that utilize all music elements in real time to address issues across multiple developmental domains concurrently.