Frequently Asked Questions
Information taken from the BAMT & AMTA
What is a typical music therapy session like?
Since music therapists serve a wide variety of persons with many different types of needs there is no such thing as an overall typical session. Sessions are designed and music selected based on the individual client's treatment plan
In what sort of environment does Music Therapy take place?
For music therapy to be most effective, certain conditions are essential. They are:
1. A music therapy room which is private, where there is little chance of being overheard or disturbed.
2. Instruments that are varied in timbre and of good quality. These should preferably include a good piano.
3. Time for planning and assessment of each session. Tape and video facilities for recording the work should also be available.
1. Clients should meet in the same room (preferably a specific music therapy room) and at the same time each week.
2. Whether a group is to be closed or open should be decided beforehand as should the length of time for each session.
3. Consistency and commitment of members of staff who attend the sessions are vital.
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.
Can Music Therapy Cure?
Music therapy can affect the whole individual, but it cannot be guaranteed to make the individual ‘whole’; a number of conditions may be irreversible. In some instances, music therapy can check deterioration, while act as a healing agent in others.
Does Music Therapy teach Musical Skills?
Music therapy is not a substitute for music lessons. Clients will often acquire certain musical skills in the course of a music therapy programme, such as sensitivity to pitch, rhythmic control, awareness of form, manipulative control etc... These skills, whilst constituting an important part of the therapy programme, are likely to be secondary to pre-determined therapeutic objectives.
British Association for Music Therapy
The Music Therapy Charity
Nordoff- Robbins Music Therapy UK
Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland
British Journal of Music Therapy Index
American Music Therapy Association
World Med Assist- Music Therapy Info *
(*Thank you to a young student who was researching music therapy for providing us with this link.)