What to Know About Music Therapy

By Inés Da Pieve @writefluencer

  1. What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the use of music and sounds to seek wellness and therapeutic objectives that will vary according to the condition treated.

Examples of therapeutic objectives are: Lowering anxiety levels, raising awareness about own´s body, increasing ability to express feelings in words, enhancing focus and concentration.

  1. If my kid can´t sing on key will this therapy work?

Yes! Lack of music knowledge is not an obstacle to try this kind of therapy. You don´t have to be a Freud specialist to make positive changes as a patient when you are seeing a therapist. This works similarly.

  1. What does a music therapist do in a session?

Broadly speaking they play instruments and sing, ask a lot of questions to the family and patient about their relationship to music and sounds and any non-musical behaviour that is considered relevant to help the person will be taken into account. Music therapists are well prepared professionals that understand biological and physiological phenomena with a holistic perspective, so don´t worry. They can totally get medical records.

  1. Wait. Do these people have to study? (I thought they played the guitar at hospitals just for fun…)

They study a lot! As with any course of study, there are differences across different countries and cultures but music therapists have the ethical responsibility to work with the corresponding license (apart from completing a course of study of at least four years) and pursue specializations in the field(s) they choose.

Among the theoretical subjects of the course of study there is anatomy, physiology, group dynamics, vocal techniques and neuropsychology. Moreover, students go through a wide range of internships to work in different arenas and discover their favorite ones before getting their degree.

  1. What are typical activities of a MT session?

  • Talking about the feelings music evokes
  • Playing instruments
  • Singing
  • Listening to music or sounds
  • Tapping objects to produce sounds
  • Moving / dancing to music stimuli
  • Playing games

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  1. Do music therapists teach music?

Some music therapists work as teachers in educational settings although this is not the goal of the course of study. If they´re treating patients, the job is not to teach music whatsoever unless music teaching helps the patient reach a health-related goal. Music therapists are as the word itself tells us, therapists.

  1. Where can I get a music therapist?

You can find a music therapist on your own or you can end up reaching one through referrals from clinicians. Music therapy runs in sessions like, for example, psychotherapy or speech therapy does.

  1. Do all music therapists work in the same fashion?

Absolutely not. Music therapy is a huge world with different schools of thought. Some music therapists are more music-centered and some others more bond-centered. There are theories for the transformative powers of music itself while others are more inclined to the relationship client-therapist as the key to trigger change. As with any human service, there are several styles but what is true is that music therapists love their profession and have a true calling to serve others for the better.

  1. Where do music therapists work and with who?

They work at general hospitals, day care centers for children with disabilities, mental hospitals, special education schools and residential homes. Also, some of them have their own private practice. There are music therapists that work only with kids or with adults. It is rare that they work with a wide range of pathologies or populations because they tend to specialise in one or a couple of fields.

When music therapists are working in institutions they are part of a cross-discipline team that carries out meetings and stays constantly in touch in order to make joint efforts to help patients.

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