The links, quotes and references used in this site have been taken from my research.

Please contact me if there are any misquotes or references

So what exactly IS music therapy? 

“That’s tricky since there are so many varieties and definitions. One definition you could use is that music therapy is a process where a client and therapist work together through music to promote the clients health and wellbeing. It’s been in the US since the 1950’s, however, there have been forms that resemble music therapy since ancient times” Professor Brim Abrams, Monteclair State University, USA research into music therapy, March 9, 2013. 

There are varied definitions, but I choose this one from the Joint declaration of the 1982 International Symposium of Music Therapists : “ Music therapy facilitates the creative process of moving forward wholeness in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self in areas such as : independence, freedom to change, adaptability, balance and integration. The implementation of music therapy involves interactions of the therapist, client and music. These interactions initiate and sustain musical and non-musical change processes which may or may not be observable. As the musical elements of rhythm, melody and harmony are elaborated across time, the therapist and client can develop relationships which optimize the quality of life. We believe music therapy makes a unique contribution to wellness, because man’s responsiveness to music is unique also” 

Different music therapy methods:

  • Improvisational music therapy
  • Singing and discussions
  • Guided imagery and music - GIM (Helen Bonney, influenced by Abraham Maslow and Jung)
  • Clinical Orff Schulwerk (Carl Orff)

What do music therapists DO?

 Well, I can’t account for other music therapists, but this is what I and others may do

  • Plans, organises, and directs medically prescribed music therapy activities as part of mental and physical health care and treatment of residents to influence behavioural and psychological changes leading to restoration, maintenance, and improvement of health and increased comprehension of self, environment, and physical ability.
  • Collaborates with other members of rehabilitation team in planning music activities in accordance with residents’ physical or psychological needs, capabilities and interests. Develops treatment plan, using individualised needs assessment, depending on focus of therapy, such as hospice, palliative, or psychiatric.
  • Directs and participates in instrumental and vocal music activities designed to meet patients physical or psychological needs, such as solo or group singing, rhythmic and other creative music activities, music listening, improvisation, or attending concerts.
  • Instructs residents individually or in groups in prescribed instrumental or vocal music and music projective techniques, such as guided imagery, progressive relaxation, and subjective tempos.
  • Studies and analyses residents’ reactions to various experiences and prepares reports describing symptoms indicative of progress or regression.
  • Conduct research into latest music therapy techniques for continuous improvement.

In a nut shell........................

  • ASSESS: Physical, social, emotional and cognitive abilities as well as communication skills through musical and non-musical assessments.
  • DESIGN: Therapeutic music experiences in order to meet individual clients needs.
  • IMPLEMENT: Specific music techniques in group and individual sessions.
  • EVALUATE: Individual progress and participate in treatment planning, evaluations, and follow up.

What’s the difference between entertainment and music therapy?

Entertainers are usually invaluable volunteers who entertain in nursing homes and create a diversion for an hour or so, and then go away. The key word in music therapy is therapy. Music therapists use music as a tool for deliberate therapeutic healing and wellness. An entertainer entertains while a music therapist heals. A music therapist creates individual programs and develops inter-personal relationships for the needs and the goals which the therapist has established for each client.

We may know about the circumstances of our loved ones : depression, change of environment, loneliness, dementia, anxiety, coping, etc. But what are the goals?

Goals of music therapy :

  • To improve self- image and body awareness
  • To increase communication skills
  • To increase attending behavior
  • To improve fine and gross motor skills
  • To increase the ability to use energy purposefully
  • To reduce maladaptive (stereotypical, compulsive, self-abusive, assaultive, disruptive, perseverative, impulsive) behaviors.
  • To increase interaction with peers and others
  • To increase independence and self-direction
  • To stimulate creativity and imagination
  • To enhance emotional expression and adjustment
  • To improve auditory perception

What are the costs for consultation?

Consultation fees begin at $80 per hour