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What is Music Therapy?


From the womb until the end of life, music is interwoven in the culture and history of humankind. Throughout recorded time, music has soothed distressed infants, evoked joyful dancing and play, expressed social conscience and religious faith, and expressed grief.


This fact supports music's versatility and usefulness as an art form and therapeutic medium. Intentional and relational uses of music fosters social connection and is highly motivating, engaging, and fun. 


What is music therapy?

  • According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is "the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship."

  • Primary goals addressed include cognitive, communication, behavioral, physical, emotional, and social skills.

  • Music therapy is provided by a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC).

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Who is a board-certified music therapist?

  • A board-certified music therapist (MT-BC) has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from an American Music Therapy Association approved program and over 1,200 hours of clinical training prior to certification. 

  • The MT-BC credential is awarded by the Certification Board for Music Therapists and maintained through continuing education.  


What does a music therapy session involve?

  • Live music provided by the music therapist with guitar, voice, piano, and percussion, chosen according to the clients’ preferences. 

  • Social interaction through music experiences structured to promote cooperation, sharing, taking turns, and learning appropriate ways to greet people.  

  • Movement and music experiences to enhance motor skills. 

  • Musical interaction through singing, playing instruments, and musical games to support mental, social, physical, psychological, and spiritual domains of health.  


How is music therapy different from other musical entertainment?

  • Participation: In addition to listening to music, clients engage in music experiences. 

  • Adaptability: Music therapists create a non-judgmental and accessible music environment that provides the opportunity for anyone to engage in meaningful music experiences. 

  • Client-centered: Clients guide music choices and music experiences. 

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