Updated: Sep 7, 2018
You don't need to be a musician to benefit from music therapy.
Music therapy is a therapeutic service that addresses clinical, non-musical goals and is beneficial for people of all ages and abilities.
How do I know if music therapy would be beneficial for someone I know?
Music therapy has continued to grow and expand over the last couple of decades, but what exactly is music therapy and what does it look like?
First, it is important to gain an overall understanding of what music therapy is.
Music therapy is a therapeutic service provided by an accredited music therapist (MTA), in which music is used as the primary tool in order to address clinical, non-musical goals. These may include development and/or training within speech/language, motor, cognitive, communicative, social, emotional, and mental health domains.
Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) is a specialized area of music therapy that requires additional training. It is a research-based system built on how music perception and music production influences the brain. Music-based interventions aim to address functional, non-musical goals in 3 main areas: speech/language, motor, and cognition.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what music therapy is, you may be wondering who does music therapy help?
Music therapy has the unique ability to benefit people of all ages and abilities. This includes toddlers, children, adolescents, adults, and elderly individuals. Some examples of client populations that can benefit from music therapy include:
· Brain injury
· Parkinson's Disease
· Palliative care
· Speech disorders
· Developmental disorders
· Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
· Down syndrome
· Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Now that you have an understanding of what music therapy is and who it can benefit, you may be wondering, how can it help?
Music therapy interventions can address clinical domains such as cognition, motor, speech/language, developmental, social, and mental health.
Interventions may include exercises aimed to train and/or rehabilitate functional abilities. It may include cognitive exercises aimed to reduce cognitive slowing associated with neurodegenerative conditions. It may also include exercises aimed to enhance learning and education. Music therapy interventions may aim to teach appropriate social behaviour and conduct. And it may also aim to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety and encourage self-expression and self-exploration.
It is important to remember that goals are clinical and non-musical.
Aims and objectives are established through an assessment period, in which the music therapist gains an understanding of the client’s needs and current abilities and how music can be used in order to support the therapeutic change.