What is Music Therapy?

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is all about connections – connecting with each other through music, the connections music makes within the brain, and the connections between health, science, and art.

Music Therapy is the use music interventions by a trained professional to maximize quality of life through improvement in cognitive, emotional, social, behavioral, or physical functioning, the restoration of lost abilities, or by maintaining current abilities.

Music Therapy is the targeted use of music interventions to increase health, wellness, and joy, to help individuals live their best life by using the principles of how music is processed in the brain.

Music is processed throughout the brain, from the reptilian brain, to the limbic system, to many areas in the neocortex.

Music helps us connect with each other and understand each other non-verbally, access memories hidden deep within the subconscious, live in the moment, express and experience challenging emotions in a safer place, and bypass damaged areas by building new connections.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it necessary to have a board-certified music therapist?

Music therapists are trained healthcare professionals, held accountable to a Code of Ethics, Standards of Clinical Practice, and Professional Competencies. Music therapists must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in music therapy (or a Master’s level equivalency), have 1200 hours of supervised clinical training, and complete a board certification exam. In order to remain board-certified, music therapists must complete 100 hours of continuing education every 5 years, or retake the CBMT examination.

What kind of music do you use?

The flexible nature of music is one of the reasons it can be such an effective tool in therapy. Music therapists are trained to design music experiences to best support individual clients, and also to adapt and adjust the many elements of music (rhythm, tempo, dynamics, melody, harmony, style, etc), in the moment in order to facilitate progress.

Voice, guitar, piano, hand percussion, and/or other instruments may be useful in a music therapy session. Expressive or receptive experiences will be chosen based on the findings of a clinical assessment.

Music is often co-created between client and therapist in the moment, or improvised to facilitate treatment goals.

Does it work?

Music therapy is guided and supported by several decades of peer-reviewed, published research studies, which guide our work with multiple populations, including individuals with autism and non-neurotypical individuals, individuals in medical settings (oncology, NICU, pediatric & adult procedural support, intensive care, palliative care), mental health settings, schools, physical rehabilitation (stroke, TBI, Parkinson’s disease), skilled nursing facilities (including memory care), hospice, forensic settings, and more.

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