Who Can Receive Music Therapy?
Healthy individuals can use music for stress reduction through active music making such as drumming, passive listening for relaxation, as a powerful motivator for physical exercise, and music therapy assisted childbirth.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Music therapy interventions focus on enhancing social, communicative, motor/sensory, emotional, and academic/cognitive functioning, or music skills in individuals with ASD. Music therapy services are based on each client’s individual abilities, noting preferences, needs, the family’s values, beliefs, and priorities. Music therapists work in partnership with clients, families, and teams.
The music therapy assessment process is designed to gain an understanding of the individual’s current level of functioning while engaging in a variety of intentional and developmentally sound music experiences. The music therapy intervention plan is based on the assessment outcomes. It integrates a variety of ASD-specific evidence-based strategies (e.g., prompting, reinforcement, picture schedule) and music therapy techniques (e.g., singing/ vocalization, instrument play, movement/ dance, musical improvisation, songwriting/ composition, listening to music, or computer-based music activities). These strategies and techniques support clients in practicing identified and targeted skills. Music therapy sessions provide familiarity, consistency, structure, and predictability – characteristics that support the learning style of individuals with ASD. Music therapists document clients’ responses and conduct ongoing evaluation of progress towards the achievement of goals while making recommendations for generalization and future intervention options. These measures and suggestions may assist the individual with ASD, family, and team to appreciate success while empowering clients to maximize their functioning in all aspects of their lives. Click here for more information about Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Correctional Facilities and Forensics
In correctional and forensic settings, clients may include adolescents and adults who are incarcerated, individuals adjudicated for treatment in secure mental health facilities, persons living in half-way houses, group homes, and intensive sanctions programs, and individuals on probation and parole who live independently in the community. Research in the field and clinical anecdotes attest to the validity and efficacy of music therapy with these individuals, many of whom have physical, psychological, emotional, social, behavioral, cognitive, communicative, and/or spiritual needs and challenges. Click here for more information about Music Therapy and Correctional Facilities and Forensics.
Crisis and Trauma
The work of the AMTA New York City Music Therapy Relief Project, combined with over fifty years of practice and research in music therapy, has demonstrated the impact of music therapy as ‘second-wave’ relief in helping to cope with events surrounding a crisis and its aftermath. The directed use of music and music therapy is highly effective in developing coping strategies, including understanding and expressing feelings of anxiety and helplessness, supporting feelings of self-confidence and security, and providing a safe or neutral environment for relaxation. Research results and clinical experiences attest to the viability of music therapy even in situations outside of traditional therapeutic settings. Music is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it. Feedback from relief workers and caregivers indicates that music therapy sessions helped to develop a stronger sense of readiness to cope with day-to-day stressors and potential future crisis situations. Click here for more information about Music Therapy and Crisis and Trauma.
Music stimulates all of the senses and involves the child at many levels. This “multimodal approach” facilitates many developmental skills. Quality learning and maximum participation occur when children are permitted to experience the joy of play. The medium of music therapy allows this play to occur naturally and frequently. Music is highly motivating, yet it can also have a calming and relaxing effect. Enjoyable music activities are designed to be success-oriented and make children feel better about themselves. Music therapy can help a child manage pain and stressful situations. Music can encourage socialization, self-expression, communication, and motor development. Because the brain processes music in both hemispheres, music can stimulate cognitive functioning and may be used for remediation of some speech/language skills. Click here for more information about Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Music therapy has been shown to be an efficacious and valid treatment option for medical patients with a variety of diagnoses. Music therapy can be used to address patient needs related to respiration, chronic pain, physical rehabilitation, diabetes, headaches, cardiac conditions, surgery, and obstetrics, among others. Research results and clinical experiences attest to the viability of music therapy even in those patients resistant to other treatment approaches. Music is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it. Click here for more information about Music Therapy and Medicine.
Mental Health and Addiction
Music therapy is an efficacious and valid treatment for persons who have psychosocial, affective, cognitive and communicative needs. Research results and clinical experiences attest to the viability of music therapy even in those who are resistive to other treatment approaches. Music is a form of sensory stimulation that provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability and feelings of security associated with it. Music therapy for clients with mental health concerns uses musical interaction as a means of communication and expression. The aim of therapy is to help individuals develop relationships and address issues they may not be able to address using words alone. Music therapy sessions include the use of active music making, music listening, and discussion. Click here for more information about Music Therapy and Mental Health and Addiction
While many individuals exposed to trauma follow a normal or typical course of recovery from acute stress reactions and acute stress disorder, some develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or PTSD with delayed onset. The signature injuries of recent wars include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI and mTBI), major depression, polytrauma, and a whole host of complicating sequelae such as substance abuse, family conflict, and suicide risk. The prevalence of PTSD among the 1.7 million service members deployed under Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom is estimated to be about 15% (Ramchard, Schell, Jaycox, & Tanielian, 2011). Among America’s veterans of earlier conflicts, including the Vietnam war, the incidence of cases is large. In order to support service members and their families in prevention, wellness, and recovery, music therapists are qualified professionals who possess the skills and abilities to determine appropriate interventions to support resilience and recovery. Furthermore, music therapists are an integral part of treatment teams in the context of interdisciplinary services. Click here for more information about Music Therapy and Military Populations.
Nursing Homes and Assisted Living
Music therapy treatment is efficacious and valid with older persons who have functional deficits in physical, psychological, cognitive or social functioning. Research results and clinical experiences attest to the viability of music therapy even in those who are resistive to other treatment approaches. Music is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it. Click here for more information about Music Therapy and Nursing Homes.
A review of the extensive published literature on this topic reveals several lines of research, largely among three major disciplines: music therapists, nurses, and physicians. Many of these studies were conducted independently by the various disciplines; however, collaborative research among Board Certified Music Therapists with other professional disciplines (particularly nursing) is on the rise.
When music is employed as an ambient and adjunct modality or tool during procedures, in the peri-operative environment, and/or for use in chronic pain management, there exists considerable diversity in the literature with respect to the music listening protocol. In many cases, the authors of the published literature do not specify the exact protocol and/or why certain music was used. This is a limitation of a portion of the literature; however, it is important to understand that many of the findings from these studies can help shape, inform, and refine future research by Board Certified Music Therapists, other professionals, and in collaborative research environments. Click here for more information about Music Therapy and Pain Management.
According to Public Law 94-142 (Education for All Handicapped Children Act) subsequently renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), students with special education needs are entitled to the same educational opportunities as their typically developing peers. The concept of providing education in the “least restrictive environment” is defined to mean that ALL students, regardless of disability, should have full access to the general education curriculum. As a result, students with more severe learning problems are now included in general education classrooms not only to meet academic needs but also to increase socialization opportunities.
Music therapists typically use music activities to foster the development of motor, communication, cognitive, and social abilities in students with special education needs. Music therapy can be used to address many of the goals targeted in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) such as the learning of academic concepts, increasing cooperation and appropriate social behavior, providing avenues for communication, increasing self-esteem and self confidence, improving motor responses and agility, and encouraging exploration and examination of issues that impact the life of the student. By creating, singing, moving, and listening to music, a wide range of cognitive, emotional and physical abilities are brought into focus. Under the direction of a qualified music therapist, the new skills learned in the music therapy setting can be transferred to other areas of the student’s life. Click here for more information about Music Therapy and Schools. Click here for more information about Music Therapy and Special Education.