FAQ

1What is Music Therapy?
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. (American Music Therapy Association definition, 2005)
2What do music therapists do?
Music therapists assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses; design music sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs using interventions including music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music; participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning, ongoing evaluation, and follow up.
3Who can benefit from music therapy?
Children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease and other aging related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain, including mothers in labor.
4Who is qualified to practice music therapy?
Persons who complete one of the approved college music therapy curricula and a six month internship are then eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music therapists who successfully complete the independently administered examination hold the music therapist-board certified credential MT-BC.
5Is there research to support music therapy?
Vast amounts of research exploring the benefits of music as therapy can be found through publication of the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives and other sources. A substantial amount of literature exists to support the effectiveness of music therapy. Music therapy research continues to be an important part of developing the effective research driven field.
6What are some misconceptions about music therapy?
That the client or patient has to have some particular music ability to benefit from music therapy, this is not true. Music therapist will work with clients that have a variety of musical skills, from no musical experience to a career in music. That there is one particular style of music that is more therapeutic than all the rest, this is also not true. All styles of music can be useful in effecting change in a client’s life. The individual’s preferences, and the client or patient’s goals help to determine the types of music a music therapist may use.
7How is music therapy utilized in schools?
Music therapists are often hired in schools to provide music therapy services listed on the Individualized Education Plan for mainstreamed special learners. Music learning is used to strengthen nonmusical areas such as communication skills and physical coordination skills which are important for daily living.
8Is music therapy a reimbursable service?
Music therapy is reimbursable through several avenues. State and county waivers and grants (CSG, FSG, CADI, DD, etc), private insurance, health savings accounts, or private pay cover the services.
9What is the difference between music therapy and therapeutic music?
Music therapists receive many questions regarding the differences between Board Certified Music Therapists and the profession of music performance relative to people who use music for therapeutic listening. The difference comes down to the training involved in becoming a music therapist and focus on other areas including performance, psychology, documentation, working with a disciplinary team, etc.
10What kinds of music instruments does a music therapist use?
Toneworks music therapists use guitar, keyboard, and voice for chanting, singing, and toning. Therapists also use percussion and rhythm instruments that are non-musician people friendly. Compact disc recordings or MP3’s are used with certain interventions.
11Who supplies musical instruments used in music therapy sessions?
In most cases, music therapists bring all musical equipment that is required to each therapy session. Music therapists can also use instruments provided by the facility or individual that they work for.
12Does a music therapy client have to be able to read music, sing, or play an instrument?
Since music therapy addresses non-musical goals, patients need no prior music training or advanced skill. Music therapy can also work towards musical goals through adaptive music lessons, which in some cases uses an adapted instrument.
13How quickly does music therapy produce results?
Immediate and quite apparent responses often result from individualized music therapy experiences. The music therapist establishes goals for the clients and maintains documentation after each session to track progress and adapt future sessions to work towards their goals.