What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals that are non-musical and functional within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. (American Music Therapy Association definition, 2005)

What is Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT)?

Based upon neuroscience research, Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) provides specific, individualized, and standardized interventions with detailed data collection methods for those affected by neurologic dysfunction.

NMT differs from traditional Music Therapy as it views music not as a social science model for well being, but as a neuroscience model, where music is a hard-wired brain language. Music and rhythm have been shown to have the ability to create new pathways in the brain, increasing the connection between what the brain thinks and what the body does. Music and rhythm facilitate these changes.

All Lake Erie Music Therapy practitioners are trained in NMT techniques and data collection. Since it relies on detailed assessment procedures, objective and quantitative data, and clinical documentation, many Private Insurance companies are reimbursing for this service.

What do music therapists do?

Music therapists assess emotional health, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses. They also design music therapy sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs using music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music. Further, they participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning, ongoing evaluation, and follow up.

Where do music therapists work?

Music therapists work in psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitative facilities, medical hospitals, outpatient clinics, day care treatment centers, agencies serving persons with developmental disabilities, community mental health centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior centers, nursing homes, hospice programs, correctional facilities, halfway houses, schools, and private practice.

Who is qualified to practice music therapy?

Persons who complete one of the approved college music therapy curricula (including an 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).

What are some misconceptions about music therapy?

Some people assume that the client or patient has to have some particular music ability to benefit from music therapy — they do not. That there is one particular style of music that is more therapeutic than all the rest — this is not the case. All styles of music can be useful in effecting change in a client or patient’s life. The individual’s preferences, circumstances and need for treatment, and the client or patient’s goals help to determine the types of music a music therapist may use.

How is music therapy utilized in hospitals?

Music is used in general hospitals to: alleviate pain in conjunction with anesthesia or pain medication: elevate patients’ mood and counteract depression; promote movement for physical rehabilitation; calm or sedate, often to induce sleep; counteract apprehension or fear; and lessen muscle tension for the purpose of relaxation, including the autonomic nervous system.

How is music therapy utilized in nursing homes?

Music is used with elderly persons to increase or maintain their level of physical, mental, and social/emotional functioning. The sensory and intellectual stimulation of music can help maintain a person’s quality of life.

How 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 Therapy treatment is used to strengthen nonmusical areas such as communication skills, reading/math comprehension, attention/memory and physical coordination skills.

AMTA’s Director of Government Relations, Judy Simpson, MT-BC, walks parents through the process of requesting the inclusion of music therapy on their child’s IEP in a recent podcast. Click below to listen to parent information for music therapy and the IEP.

Listen Now - Music Therapy Podcast