Who Can Benefit from music therapy?

The following information was excerpted from and can be found on the official website of the American Music Therapy Association.


Music Therapy can benefit the following populations and conditions: children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease and other aging related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain, including mothers in labor.

What does a music therapy session look like?

Music therapy sessions are not “one-size fits all”. Each session is highly individualized based upon the learning style, strengths, musical preferences, and needs of the individual(s) receiving services. Sessions may last 30, 45, or 60 minutes and may be conducted in an individual, group, or family setting. Sessions may be comprised of many smaller interventions or one intervention may last several weeks as part of a larger project. Live and recorded music may be used. Here are some interventions music therapists may implement in treatment (the list is not exhaustive!):

  • Therapeutic instrument play

  • Movement to music

  • Lyric Analysis

  • Song-writing

  • Adapted Music Lessons

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  • Therapeutic singing exercises

  • Drum and chant work

  • Song re-creation

  • Music Video Production

  • Imagination-based play through song

  • Books set to song

  • Toning

  • Life Review through Song

  • Drawing to music

  • Journaling to song

  • Guided Imagery

What does music therapy work on?

The goals of music therapy vary widely from person to person, but might include:

  • To improve receptive language skills

  • To improve expressive communication skills

  • To improve social skills

  • To improve gait

  • To improve range of motion

  • To improve emotional literacy skills

  • To improve attention to task

  • To improve hand-eye coordination

  • To improve positive coping skills

  • To decrease perceived levels of stress

  • To decrease processing time

  • To improve quality of life

  • To improve pain management

  • To improve parent-child bonds

  • To improve memory recall

  • To improve academic skills

  • To improve peer relations

  • To process feelings of grief