What is music therapy?

According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), “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.” 
Music therapy interventions can be designed to:

  • Promote Wellness
  • Manage Stress
  • Alleviate Pain
  • Express Feelings
  • Enhance Memory
  • Improve Communication
  • Promote Physical Rehabilitation
  • Improve social interaction
  • Teach academic skills

Who can benefit from music therapy?

Children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease and other aging related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain, including mothers in labor. Clients will be appropriately assessed by the music therapist to ensure that music therapy is appropriate for them. 

Who is a music therapist?

Persons who complete one of the approved college music therapy curricula (including an internship) are then eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music therapists who successfully complete the independently administered examination hold the music therapist-board certified credential (MT-BC). 
The National Music Therapy Registry (NMTR) serves qualified music therapy professionals with the following designations: RMT, CMT, ACMT. These individuals have met accepted educational and clinical training standards and are qualified to practice music therapy.

What types of services are offered?

Music therapy can be offered as individual sessions, or as group sessions. Groups can be anywhere from two to ten clients.

What types of space is needed to serve specialized clients?

Music therapists work and adapt too many different types of environments. An ideal space is a large open room with minimal visual and auditory distractions and good lighting, which can be adjusted. The space needs to be able to fit either an individual or a group of about 7 children or adults. Handicap accessibility and nearness to a facility is also important to the comfort of the types of clients that a music therapist sees. 

What type of equipment does a music therapist need?

The music therapist is able to provide a lot of personal equipment for use in therapy. Items such as a guitar, the therapists stool, and small percussive type instruments will be provided by the therapist. A piano is needed, as well as chairs for client use. The therapist and facility can discuss a possible instrument budget, or the opportunity to write for a grant for the program being conceived.

How does one receive MT services and what happens throughout?

Music Therapy Assessment

  • The music therapist schedules and conducts music therapy assessments upon receiving a referral and appropriate paperwork from a parent, teacher, therapist, the Committee on Preschool Special Education, or the Committee on Special Education.
  • The assessment includes review of current service reports, parent/teacher/therapist interviews, observations in a non-music setting, and implementation of music in a similar setting.
  • The data collected is compiled and presented in a Music Therapy Assessment Report.
  • Recommendations/Goals/Objectives are provided when there is proof of eligibility.

Scheduling and Beginning Therapy

  • After receiving approval to begin services the therapist will contact the teacher, therapist and/or parent to schedule the approved frequency of sessions.
  • Once the therapist receives the IEP documenting music therapy and a start date, or a private contract from the parent, services will begin.

Monitoring Progress

  • Therapist will complete and provide quarterly and annual reports to document progress, strengths and needs.
  • The therapist is always open to receiving contacts from parents, teachers and service providers.
  • Therapist will attend annual meetings to share pertinent information and provide future recommendations.