Music is our tool for therapy because of the special way music impacts our brains and bodies.
Music makes us feel good. It triggers emotions, brings back memories, motivates us, and connects us to one another. It can also change our heart rate, how we move, and even how our brains process information.
Music therapists know this not just because we see it in our work every day, but because decades of research and study have proven that music therapy is an effective treatment approach. Music therapists study the science and psychology behind music and use evidence-based techniques in our practice.
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is an established healthcare profession where certified therapists use music-based interventions to help people reach health, educational, and wellness goals.
Simply put, music therapists use music to help people.
We do this using music-based techniques that look a lot like singing, playing instruments, listening to music, improvisation, and dance. The difference is that during music therapy, we are intentionally using music as a tool to work towards non-musical goals. These are similar to goals addressed in other types of therapy, such as occupational, physical, speech, and psychotherapy.
For example, music therapists:
Use the rhythmic elements of music to help people improve their gait and movements after a stroke or Parkinson's diagnosis.
Use vocal techniques, like singing & breathing exercises and MIT, to improve speech and diction.
Help people process grief, express their feelings, and cope with mental health issues through lyric analysis and improvisation.
Work with pre-school and school-aged children on goals related to academics, social skills, and developmental milestones through fun and interactive music making experiences.
Help people with Alzheimer's and dementia recall memories and connect with loved ones.
Behind the Music
When you see music therapy in action, it might look like we are just having fun making music. We probably are, but there is so much more going on!
Hover or touch images to learn more.
What is music therapy?
Who is music therapy for?
Music therapy is for anyone looking for a creative, personalized approach to therapy.
Is music therapy covered by insurance?
Where and when do sessions take place?
How does someone become a music therapist?
Music therapists are credentialed healthcare professionals with extensive training in music, psychology, research, and therapy principles. To become a music therapist, one must complete an approved music therapy degree program, including 1200 hours of clinical practice. This is followed by a national certification exam that designates the credential MT-BC or music therapist- board certified. There are currently over 7,500 board certified music therapists working in the United States.
The educational requirements for a music therapist include coursework in music, music therapy priciples and techniques, psychology, biology, and research. There are over 75 colleges and universities in the United States that offer a degree in music therapy- find one here.
Do you have to be musical to participate in music therapy?
Not at all! Music therapy is not just for musicians, and you don’t need to be “musical” to benefit. Most of our clients are not musicians. Music is the tool used for therapy, not an outcome or performance by the client. Your music therapist is a trained musician (and trained therapist), so you don’t need to be.