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What is Music Therapy?

Music therapists use music to attain non-music goals for people in therapeutic settings, which can include schools, hospitals, private healthcare, and more.

The American Music Therapy Association defines music therapy as 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.”

Music Therapy IS

a planned treatment intervention with well-defined goals and objectives;

a process in which a relationship develops within and by means of musical experiences;

an intervention based on a pre-treatment, individualized music therapy assessment;

an experience in which the music and the modes of musical expression are chosen to meet the individual client’s needs;

an intervention which can address physical, psychological, social, communication, and behavioral goals.

Music Therapy is NOT

Music Medicine:
The client listens to live or recorded music in order to bring about direct effects on bodily systems and functioning.

Special Music Education:
The use of special techniques and activities to teach special learners about music.

Music Lessons:
Engaging a person in musical activities in order to develop performance skills on an instrument.

Recreational Music:
Engaging a person in musical activities primarily as a leisure pursuit, hobby, or pasttime.

Entertainment:
Performing live music or playing recorded music for persons who are primarily passive or receptive participants.


Music Therapy IS

a planned treatment intervention with well-defined goals and objectives;

a process in which a relationship develops within and by means of musical experiences;

an intervention based on a pre-treatment, individualized music therapy assessment;

an experience in which the music and the modes of musical expression are chosen to meet the individual client’s needs;

an intervention which can address physical, psychological, social, communication, and behavioral goals.

Music Therapy is NOT

Music Medicine:
The client listens to live or recorded music in order to bring about direct effects on bodily systems and functioning.

Special Music Education:
The use of special techniques and activities to teach special learners about music.

Music Lessons:
Engaging a person in musical activities in order to develop performance skills on an instrument.

Recreational Music:
Engaging a person in musical activities primarily as a leisure pursuit, hobby, or pasttime.

Entertainment:
Performing live music or playing recorded music for persons who are primarily passive or receptive participants.