What is music therapy?

According to the American Music Therapy Association:

“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.” (AMTA, 2005)

In other words, MT is the use of music as a therapeutic tool.  It is a method of treatment that is based on research and is administered in clinical practice by trained professionals.

Music therapists work in a wide variety of places serving a wide range of clients: hospitals (medical and psychiatric), nursing homes, prisons, schools, hospice care, substance abuse programs, outpatient clinics, day services, private practice, etc.  Board certified music therapists have completed a degree program, a six-month internship, and have passed the examination requirements of the Certification Board for Music Therapists.  Certification must be renewed every five years.

Music therapy interventions are varied and depend on the client.  Some common experiences are songwriting, instrumental improvisation, lyric analysis, movement, singing, and performance.  For more information about specific research and benefits of music therapy, take a look at these fact sheets provided by AMTA.


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