What is music therapy?
Music therapy is the skilled application of music to promote positive change and personal growth. It is carried out by a trained professional who uses music, and the relationship between the therapist and the client, to achieve therapeutic aims. Music therapists are concerned with improving the quality of life of the people with whom they work. Music therapy gives the person a space in which they are accepted for the unique individual that they are. It is particularly suited to those people who are hard to reach.
How music therapy can help:
Mental health: Music can both affect our emotions and be a medium through which we express our emotions. This can be particularly beneficial for those who have difficulties with verbal communication. A music therapist can support a person to work through feelings of loss and grief which are frequently associated with the experience of a brain injury.
Awareness, orientation and memory: Music can capture and sustain attention where spoken language may not. This is particularly valuable for people who are showing minimal responses to their environment. Also, familiar songs can help orientate a person to their environment and to other people. In addition, the rhythmic and predictable structure of music can facilitate memory skills.
Speech and language: As speech and language is predominantly controlled by the left side of the brain, and music spans both sides of the brain, a music therapist can use music and its components such as rhythm and melody to provide an alternative way of accessing current skills or building new skills in these areas.
Physical skills: Listening to, moving to, and playing music provide meaningful opportunities for physical activity and addressing rehabilitation goals.
What happens during a music therapy session?
Music therapy sessions can consist of a range of activities, including:
- listening to music
- moving or dancing to music
- singing familiar songs
- song writing
- instrument playing
- reminiscing/life reviewing
The music therapist is skilled in supporting each individual to participate in any way that they can.
Does a person need to be musical to benefit from music therapy?
No musical experience is required to benefit from music therapy.