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What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy Facts

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is the application of music to aid in the achievement of specific therapeutic goals. Music therapy can also be defined as the planned and creative use of music to attain and maintain health and well being. Music therapy is an established health service similar to occupational therapy and physical therapy. As a holistic treatment approach, music therapy focuses on the well being of the entire person, not just the part which is diseased or in distress.

Why Music Therapy?

Music therapy is a cost-effective therapy that really works! It is effective in meeting the physical, psychological, cognitive, social, and spiritual needs of the people it serves. Music therapy has been proven effective by hundreds of scientific research studies and articles, and by centuries of use in cultures throughout the world. Music therapy has also been shown to have physiological effects on heart-rate, blood pressure, immune system responses, and neurological function.

Human beings are musical creatures. Rhythm is a concept we share with all life and with the complex forces that govern our existence. Biological patterns range from simple rhythms, such as the heart beat, to the complex rhythms of the nervous system. Vibration is also a universal constant, from the vibrations of atoms and molecules that make up all matter, to the cosmic echo of the "big bang" which still exists even today.

For thousands of years, healers across the earth and in every culture have used music as a healing tool. Indigenous peoples of Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Australia have all used music in their medicine practices. A 20,000-year-old hieroglyph in a cave in France proves that music has also been used to heal in ancient European cultures: It is a picture of a shaman holding a medicine rattle. Music is an effective tool to help reduce physical, emotional, and spiritual stress and pain. It can also offer unique insights to the human experience.

Music Therapists work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Long Term Care Facilities
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Hospice
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Clinics
  • Psychiatric Care Facilities
  • Schools
  • Child Daycare settings
  • Adult Daycare settings
  • Wellness Centers

Music Therapy helps people with:

  • Chronic Illness/Disease
  • Terminal Disease
  • Developmental Disorders
  • Psychiatric Disorders
  • Psychological Trauma
  • Grief / Loss Issues
  • Emotional / Spiritual crisis
  • Chronic & Acute Pain
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Alzheimers / Dementia
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Everyday Stress
  • Sensory Impairments
  • Chemical Dependency
  • Labor & Delivery

Music Therapy helps with:

  • Stress Management
  • Pain Management
  • Relaxation
  • Meditation / Imagery
  • Motor Coordination
  • Socialization
  • Reality Orientation
  • Treatment Tolerance
  • Expression of Emotion
  • Communication
  • Achievement of
  • OT & PT goals
  • Anxiety Reduction
  • Sensory Stimulation
  • Cognitive Stimulation
  • Recreational Enjoyment
  • Reminiscence
  • Improving Quality of Life
  • Patient/Client Satisfaction

Who Are Music Therapists?

Music Therapists are individuals who receive five years of extensive training and education in the fields of music, psychology, physiology, education, and courses specific to music therapy. During coursework, a music therapist also receives 40-60 hours of clinical training. Upon completion of coursework, a music therapist must receive 1040 hours of clinical training. Music therapists then go on to take a test for board certification upon completion of the internship.

More info at:

Some of the material in this document is from the American Association for Music Therapy, The Music Therapy Association of Australia, and Dawn Miller, MME MT-BC.

Music Therapy References (Click Here)

Read The Music of Healing from the National Endowment for the Arts

What People have said about Christian and his music therapy practice:

"You're my best pain medicine"

"You work better than Ativan (a sedative) any day"

"It (the music) just makes me feel warm and calm inside- like everything's going to be OK."

"Your music has really brought peace into this difficult time for myself and my family"

"The songs we sing bring back such great memories- it helps me realize all the good things that have been in my life."

"I always feel 20 years younger after our sessions"

"This is the most wonderful gift anyone could give. Its just so powerful and healing."

"I always feel so trapped these days. The music is one of the only things that makes me feel free."

-Hospice Clients


"These music therapy groups give me something to look forward to, they sure make my day!"

-Client with Alzheimer's Disease


"Having the support of my music is the only way I got through this. You helped me to find support and comfort there at a time when I was in so much despair. You gave me hope when I had none. It gave me something to go on living for. For me music therapy was the difference between life and death... I cant thank you enough."

"Our music and imagery sessions were one of the few positive experiences I had during my chemo. It helped me to discover a different part of myself, and to see beyond my misery. I know that it helped with the side effects and Im sure it helped me fight my cancer."

-Oncology Clients


"You can play for me anytime"

"My tremor was so bad today. I thought nothing would stop it, but you and your music did. Thank you!"

"The rhythms you play (during exercise groups) really help me get my body going- even when it doesnt want to. The rhythms just help my body know how to move- all I have to do is keep time with the music."

-Clients with Parkinson's Disease


"The music just cocooned me in a safe and warm was wonderful"

"Your music brought me to a place where I felt no pain. That hasnt happened in ten years"

"The music just got inside me... became a part of me... and now I feel no pain."

-Chronic Pain Clients


"You brought her home"

-Mother of a Methodist Hospital Coronary I.C.U. patient after the death of her daughter


"I hope that when it is my time to leave this earth, that someone like you will be there to play me home. Your music is so wonderful- it brings such peace."

-Methodist Hospital Chaplain


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