Music Therapy Rocks

What is Music Therapy?


This is a question I hear on a regular basis. My elevator answer is: “We use music as a motivator to complete a task that might otherwise be boring, difficult or frustrating. We can work on a variety of non-musical goals that include speech, fine/gross motor control, behavior and gait.” Since music therapy is used in so many different places and with a variety of people, the definition can sound different based upon the population we are working with, but the basic definition remains unchanged: “Music therapy is 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.” (taken from the
American Music Therapy Association).

We have been using music as a healing tonic for centuries. Music listening helps us to relax & focus; singing helps our lungs when we breathe deeply; moving or dancing to music gives us a way to express ourselves and exercise. Music is all around us. We even hear music in the grocery store to help us keep a good money-spending pace. Let’s face it, music motivates, relaxes, energizes and regulates us.

For children with special needs, the qualities that music possesses can influence many aspects of their lives. A child with cerebral palsy may have difficulty using his or her arms. Music can provide the motivation & fun that a child needs to move an object from one side of the table to the other. A child with apraxia of speech holds up each stuffed animal during Old MacDonald, while the music therapist encourages the child to watch how the sounds are produced. Rawr! Oink! Quack!

For an adult patient in the hospital, we use music to relax, de-stress, process a new diagnosis, create a safe environment for sharing, increase family interaction, provide stimulation, improve reality orientation and more.

There are so many ways that music can be used, not only in the hospital setting but in nursing homes, prisons, schools and more. If you would like more information, please contact us or visit the link for our association, which is listed above.