Music Therapy


Music Therapy is the application of music to fulfill health needs with the help of an accredited professional with an approved music therapy program certification.
Music Therapy is a well-recognized health profession. After analyzing the requirements of each client, the qualified music therapist initiates the necessary treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through their involvement in music therapy, certain abilities within the patients are strengthened.

Music therapy also serves as a communication channel for those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Music Therapy has been found to be effective in many areas such as: physical rehab and improving body movement, improving people's desire to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support, and serving as an outlet for expression.

Music Therapy Applications by the American Cancer Society: This resource provides information regarding the treatment of cancer with music therapy. There is some evidence that, when used with conventional treatment, music therapy can help to reduce pain and relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
Temple University’s Music Therapy Resource: The Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University describes music therapy and its different uses and applications.
The British Association for Music Therapy: BAMT is the professional body for music therapists and a source of information, support and involvement for the general public.
Music Therapy at California State University: California State University, Northridge is one of more than 60 colleges and universities offering a four-year academic and clinical program based on the education requirements established by the American Music Therapy Association.


Music Therapy as a Medical Profession - History

The concept of music as “medicine” which could improve physical and mental health has been known since the time of Aristotle and Plato. The modern discipline started in the post WWII era when musicians of various types, both amateur and professional, made their way to Veterans’ hospitals countrywide to play for the 1000’s of veterans.
As a result of the physical and emotional responses the patient showed to this experimental music therapy, the doctors decided to request the recruitment of musicians by different hospitals. Within no time, it was clear that the hospital musicians required prior training before practicing Music Therapy and, therefore, the demand skyrocketed for a formal college curriculum. The very first music therapy degrees in the world could be earned at Michigan State University in 1944.
Music Therapy at the Berkley College of Music: Learn the skills necessary to practice as a professional music therapist at the Berkley College of Music.
NYU Steinhardt: The NYU Steinhardt music therapy program is approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and upon graduation qualifies a student to apply for national certification in music therapy.
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: Music has powerâ€"especially for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Western Michigan University’s Music Therapy Program: The establishment of the music therapy program in the 1950's and the on-campus Music Therapy Clinic in the 1970's is in keeping with Western Michigan University's long standing commitment to providing training in health-related disciplines.


Modern Practice

Music therapists encounter and help a wide variety of patients with various different types of medical needs. Therefore, all music therapy sessions are different. Each session is designed and music type chosen based on the patient’s particular needs.
Today, the common beneficiaries of music therapy are children, as well as the elderly, and other age groups in between. Typically, these patients have mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease and other aging related conditions. Other common problems treated with music therapy are substance abuse, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain, including mothers in labor.
Music Therapy - Modern Healing with Sound and Rhythm: Music therapy has today become an integral part of psychotherapy and medicine. It is considered a tried and tested therapeutic method that can be used in many ways.
Music Therapy Helps People With Cancer: For many people, music connects them to their emotions and is often a way to be socially connected. That is why music can be an effective form of therapy for people with cancer.
The Meeting of Art and Science: An interesting article about music therapy where the writer, Patricia Mullholland, writes about her personal experiences related to healing through music.
Music and the Healing Arts: Sarah Belle Dougherty talks about healing through music in this detailed article, discussing the internal changes that take place inside the human body as a result of music, sound, and vibration.



Common misconceptions about Music Therapy are:

  • The patient needs to have some particular musical ability to benefit from music therapy.
  • There is a certain genre that is more beneficial than the others.

Explanation for the2nd misconception: Almost every musical genre has been found to bring about certain benefits or positive changes in patients’ lives. The individual's likes and dislikes, circumstances, need for treatment, and their goals help to determine the genre a music therapist may utilize.
What Makes Music Therapy Different: An article by Dr. C. Gourgey discussing the difference between music therapy and musical entertainment.
Music Therapy as a Career: This article introduces readers to the profession of music therapy. Topics include qualifications, educational and clinical training, clinical settings, and career opportunities.
State of the Heart Hospice Music Therapy Page: Along with useful information on Music Therapy support programs; this page contains an interview of the institution’s music therapists.
Creative Music Therapy Studio: Ask an expert about whatever doubts or misconceptions you might have about music therapy.


Music Therapy Facts

  • Music therapists are not only required to have a degree in music therapy, they also have to complete a thousand hours of clinical training.
  • Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance does not cover Music Therapy. State of the Heart picks up the cost of music therapy.
  • Music Therapy aims to promote wellness, reduce stress levels, manage pain, improve memory, enhance communication, promote physical rehabilitation, and allow the patient to communicate with others in a better way.

A Few Facts About Music Therapy Benefits for Anyone: An informative blog post discussing various benefits of music therapy.
Alt Medicine: This is Alt Medicine’s quick facts page on Music Therapy that nicely summarizes the science behind this form of healing and alternate medicine.
The Power of Music Therapy: A blog post by music therapist Heather Straka on the power of music therapy.
Music’s Powers Extend Widely: Samuel J. Baldwin talks about how Music Therapy can be used to healing.


Related Links - Relaxation and Stress Therapy Listings


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