Music Therapy: It’s all the rage!

As requested this post will cover some general ideas and definitions of what Music Therapy is, as well as how and where it is used.  I can’t pretend everyone is familiar with music therapy as much as they are with say… physical therapy… however, I am never hesitant to fill in interested folks on what’s going on in the music therapy world.  For example, I was sitting waiting for a table at the Olive Garden a few months ago, and this wonderful woman and her daughter wanted to do nothing more than chat about my future career vowing to look up information on music therapy when they returned home to Toronto, CA.  Reactions to my response “I am going for music therapy” typically go one of two ways: “Oh that’s nice” or “What is that??”  Regardless, I am always thrilled to share any knowledge I have, and a little advocacy never hurts!

What is music therapy?

Compliments of the AMTA website (thats’s American Music Therapy Association)…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.

In other words, music therapy uses music as a medium in therapy not to teach music exclusively, but to address non-musical goals and objectives.

Music reaches people on a deep level, and is often successful (as shown through research) in pain management,  expressive and receptivecommunication,  memory, physical rehabilitation, emotional rehabilitation, and health.

Who do music therapists work with?

  • Infants, Children
  • Adolescents
  • Adults
  • Elderly
  • Substance Abuse
  • Eating Disorders
  • Brain Injured
  • Acute and Chronic pain
  • Developmental and Learning disabilities
  • Substance Abuse
  • Stroke patients
  • Oncology
  • The list goes on and on….

Where do they work?

  • psychiatric hospitals
  • rehabilitative facilities
  • medical hospitals, outpatient clinics, day care treatment centers
  • agencies serving developmentally disabled persons
  • community mental health centers
  • drug and alcohol programs
  • senior centers, nursing homes
  • hospice programs
  • correctional facilities, halfway houses
  • schools
  • private practice

Persons qualified to practice music therapy must be MT-BC which is board certified.  Masters degrees programs are also offerred, and in NY state a music therapist must obtain their LCAT- licence Creative Arts Therapy.

Music Therapists are excellent musicians, typically well learned on social instruments such as guitar, piano and voice, as well as knowledge in percussion studies and other instruments.  Music Therapists have a heavy course load in psychology, music, and therapy.

Any additional information can be found on the National Music Therapy Association website and


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Filed under Music Therapy, Student Life

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