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Please note that this definition of Music Therapy has been taken from information provided by third parties and healers.co.uk does not endorse any statements that may be given, nor recommend any services offered. Additionally the definition or opinions provided below may differ from those which may be given by some practitioners. This information should therefore be considered as general guidance only, and you should always consult professional advice if you are in any way concerned about your health.

Music Therapy

What is Music Therapy ?

There are different approaches to the use of music in therapy. Depending on the needs of the client and the orientation of the therapist, different aspects of the work may be emphasised. Fundamental to all approaches, however, is the development of a relationship between the client and therapist. Music-making forms the basis for communication in this relationship.

As a general rule both client and therapist take an active part in the sessions by playing, singing and listening. The therapists does not teach the client to sing or play an instrument. Rather, clients are encouraged to use accessible percussion and other instruments and their own voices to explore the world of sound and to create a musical language of their own. By responding musically, the therapist is able to support and encourage this process.

The music played covers a wide range of styles in order to complement the individual needs of each client. Much of the music is improvised, thus enhancing the individual nature of each relationship. Through whatever form the therapy takes, the therapist aims to facilitate positive changes in behaviour and emotional well-being. He or she also aims to help the client to develop an increased sense of self-awareness, and thereby to enhance his or her quality of life. The process may take place in individual or group music therapy sessions.

In what sort of environment does Music Therapy take place ?

For music therapy to be most effective, certain conditions are essential. They are:

  • A music therapy room which is private, where there is little chance of being overheard or disturbed.
  • Instruments that are varied in timbre and of good quality. These should preferably include a good piano.
  • Time for planning and assessment of each session. Tape and video facilities for recording the work should also be available.

    Clinical Considerations
  • Clients should meet in the same room (preferably a specific music therapy room) and at the same time each week.
  • Whether a group is to be closed or open should be decided beforehand as should the length of time for each session.
  • Consistency and commitment of members of staff who attend the sessions are vital.

    Who is Music Therapy for ?

    Music therapists work with adults and children of all ages. People who can benefit from music therapy include:
  • Adult
  • Children (Pre-School, Primary [Key Stage 1-2] and Secondary [Key Stage 3-4])
  • Elderly
  • Adolescent (outside of school/education system)
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mental Health
  • Forensic
  • Prison
  • Hospice
  • Neurology
  • Addiction
  • Challenging Behaviour
  • Autism
  • Communication Disorders
  • Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
  • Epilepsy
  • Normal Neurotic
  • Stress Management
  • Eating Disorders
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Music Therapy Students (personal therapy)
  • Student Training (placement/teaching)
  • Music therapy is also increasingly being sought by people who may not have specific difficulties but who would like to gain insight into themselves and their ways of relating to others.

    How can Music Therapy help ?

  • The benefits gained from music therapy may be as varied as the needs of the clients using the service.
  • For example, music can convey feeling without the use of words. For a person whose difficulties are mainly emotional, music therapy can provide a safe setting where difficult or repressed feelings may be expressed and contained. By offering support and acceptance the therapist can help the client to work towards emotional release and self-acceptance.
  • Music is essentially a social activity involving communication, listening and sharing. These skills may be developed within the musical relationship with the therapist and, in group therapy, with other members. As a result clients may develop a greater awareness of themselves in relation to others. This can include developing greater confidence in their own ability to make relationships and to find positive ways of making their needs known. It can greatly enhance their self-esteem.
  • Music can be a great motivator and can be used to promote developmental work, for example with clients with physical and/or learning disabilities. Involvement in creative music-making can assist physical awareness and develop attention, memory and concentration. Obviously, as each person’s needs are different, the various possibilities offered by music therapy will not be so easy to separate. Rather, there will normally be a considerable overlap between the areas described.

    Where do Music Therapists work ?

    Music therapists work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, special schools, day centres, the community, the prison service and in private practice.
    This means that they may be employed by the National Health Service, local education authority or the Department of Social Services. Some may be funded by charitable organisations or trusts or be self-employed.
    In all work settings, music therapists function as part of a multi-disciplinary team, their observations adding greatly to the understanding of each client’s needs, abilities or problems.

    How many Music Therapists work in the UK ?

    Music therapy has become established as a profession during the last 30 years and there are now more than 600 registered music therapists in the UK belonging to the Association of Professional Music Therapists (APMT).


    Association of Professional Music Therapists : www.apmt.org

    Source : Association of Professional Music Therapists

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