What is Music Therapy?
Music Therapy is a discipline in which credentialed professionals (Music Therapist Accredited 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. (Canadian Association of Music Therapists 2016)
Music therapy uses music to achieve non-musical goals. Music invites, motivates, relaxes, and stimulates all of the senses and people can easily relate to it. Music awakens the language and memory centres of the brain allowing individuals to sing even when their speech has been impaired. Music opens up a channel to be creative and promotes a form of expression without having to use words. For example, individuals who are non-verbal or struggle with verbal expression or low self esteem, can often thrive in an environment where they are given the opportunity to express themselves through music. Instrument playing and singing promote communication, socialization, and confidence. As this is therapy, rather than teaching, no musical skill is required to participate.
Music Therapists are accomplished musicians who have been trained to use music to engage others into shared music making while inciting their natural creativity. A safe environment is provided for clients to feel comfortable expressing themselves. Clients are given opportunities to actively participate in successful music experiences including; listening, singing, instrument playing, moving, composing, improvising, and decision making.
The client and therapist share the creative process by making music together, and their relationship must be established for progress to occur. The therapist assesses clients’ strengths and needs, forms goals and objectives, and documents and evaluates progress. The therapy program is customized for clients allowing them to receive the most benefit from the therapy.