Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Taken from the AMTA website.
For more information see

What does a music therapist do?
Who can benefit from music therapy?
What are some of the benefits of music therapy?
What are some common misconceptions about music therapy?

What does a music therapist do?

Music therapists work with a variety of clients, from individuals with everyday life challenges to those with emotional, social and physical special needs. The therapist will assess the client, then tailor a music therapy program to each individual’s needs. A music therapist will do some or all of the following:

• Assess the emotional state, physical health, social functioning,
  communication abilities and cognitive skills of the client.

• Design a program for clients based on their individual needs,
  using a variety of tools: music improvisation, receptive listening,
  song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery discussion and
  music performance.

• Participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning, ongoing
  evaluation and follow-up. (Music therapy can be incorporated into
  any therapeutic modality as well as methods developed by
  Orff-Shulwerk, Nordoff and Robbins, Helen Bonny and Mary

The music therapist is often link that connects the client and the music. When needed, the music therapist adapts the music or creates the music to make it accessible to the client. The music therapist uses the knowledge of music, psychology, physical, emotional and mental health issues, client issues and needs to facilitate music therapy.

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Who can benefit from music therapy?

Music therapy is used for individuals of all ages from young children to the elderly to treat a variety of physical, emotional, and mental health issues, or to promote personal and spiritual growth. Music therapy has proved especially effective for individuals experiencing:

• Developmental and Learning Disabilities
• Brain Injuries/Stroke
• Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
• Autism
• Mental Health Issues
• Substance Abuse Problems
• Terminal Illness
• Physical Disabilities
• Acute and Chronic Pain
• High-level Anxiety and Stress
• Sleep Disorders
• Labor and delivery
• Grief and Loss

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What are some of the benefits of music therapy?

All of the following benefits can result from the therapeutic use of music:

• Increase relaxation
• Reduce pain
• Decrease anxiety, depression and stress
• Increase self-esteem
• Increase eye-hand coordination, fine motor, gross motor and
  oral motor skills
• Provide a means for expressing emotion
• Facilitate speech and language rehabilitation
• Increase verbal and non-verbal communication and expression
• Improve social interaction with verbal and non-verbal clients
• Improve overall quality of life

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What are some common misconceptions about music therapy?

• The client or patient must have some particular music ability
  to benefit from music therapy—This is false.
• There is one particular style of music that is more therapeutic
  than all the rest—this is not the case. All styles of music can
  be useful in effecting change in a client or patient's life.
  The individual's preferences, circumstances and need for
  treatment, and the client or patient's goals help to determine
  the types of music a music therapist may use.


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