Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program (AMTA, 2010).

Music therapy is a well-established allied health profession. It consists of using music to address the following areas:

  • Cognitive
  • Social
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Communication

Music is an extremely motivating medium and unique outcomes are possible within the music therapy setting. Because of its various elements (rhythm, timbre, tempo, emotional association, etc), music affects many areas of the brain concurrently. Rhythmic elements and music can be utilized to create new neuropathways which stimulate brain function.

Music Therapy Assessments

A music therapy assessment is conducted to determine if music therapy will be beneficial for the prospective client. Assessments are typically 2 hours in length; the first hour is spent talking with caregivers and discussing possible goals for the client, while the second hour involves the client and therapist actively participating in music interventions.

An assessment report will be sent to the responsible party within 1 week. If the client qualifies for services, scheduling will then take place.

Individual Music Therapy Sessions

Individual sessions are one-on-one sessions in which the therapist provides direct care to the client. Music therapy interventions are implemented to address measurable and data-based goals and objectives. Goal areas may go hand-in-hand with IEP goals, goals in other therapies, or other areas of need.

Individual sessions are offered in 30 and 60 minute slots, and are typically scheduled once per week, though sessions may be offered several times a week if appropriate.

Music Therapy Groups

Group sessions are ideal for school settings, skilled nursing or assisted living facilities, behavioral health units, or support groups. Group sessions are appropriate when addressing several clients with similar needs, such as academic concepts, physical exercise, or emotional processing. Groups are also great for socialization.

Music therapy groups may involve both those with goal areas and typical peer models. For instance, in school settings inclusive groups may address IEP goals for some children, while facilitating socialization, acceptance, and empathy for peer models.

Group sessions are offered in 60 or 90 minute time slots.