Music Therapy

Music Therapy

Music is a natural part of daily life. It is familiar, motivating, challenging, and nonthreatening. It is pervasive and yet non-invasive, flexible while being structured. Music draws people together, creating a space in which it is safe to experiment and express oneself.

“Music Therapy is a discipline in which credentialed professionals (MTA*) use music purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, health, and well-being. Music therapists use music safely and ethically to address human needs within cognitive, communicative, emotional, musical, physical, social, and spiritual domains.”

*Music Therapist Accredited/Musicothérapeute accrédité

 Canadian Association of Music Therapists: 2016

For more information, check out

Potential Music Therapy Goal Areas

Music therapists use music, and the therapeutic relationship, to work towards non-musical goals. For example, the overriding goal of Music Therapy is to improve quality of life and promote wellness. Within that framework, there is a wide variety of domains that Music Therapy can be used to address including the following:

  • Social: attention span, confidence, independence, responsibility, turn taking, following directions, making choices, self-control, leadership skills, and positive social interaction
  • Communication: self-expression, vocabulary, using Alternative and Augmentative Communication, learning English, and receptive communication skills
  • Motor: body awareness, fine and gross motor skills, range of motion, and coordination
  • Emotional: self-expression, emotional awareness, and empathy
  • Academic: spelling, reading and comprehension, memory, and basic school concepts
  • Other: relaxation, sensory stimulation, pain management, and dealing with anxiety

A music therapist can also work with other members of a client’s support team to determine goals in order to increase consistency and encourage the generalization of skills across contexts.

Music Therapy with Children with Disabilities

Note: The RMT credential in Australia is equivalent to the MTA credential in Canada.

Where Do Music Therapists Work

Individuals of various ages, abilities, and musical backgrounds can benefit from Music Therapy. Music therapists work in many different locations such as:

  • Schools
  • Medical hospitals
  • Day programs for adults or children
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Personal care homes
  • Mental health facilities
  • Hospice and palliative care programs
  • Residences for individuals with developmental disabilities
  • Correctional facilities
  • Private practice/consultation

Referrals for Music Therapy may be made by other professionals such as physicians, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and teachers. Clients may also choose to pursue Music Therapy through parental or self-referral.

TEDx Conference November 2015

In this video, Erin Seibert MT-BC, gives a phenomenal presentation about Music Therapy that is both accessible and informative. I highly recommend taking seventeen minutes to watch it.

Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions or are interested in setting up Music Therapy programming.