Benefits of Music Therapy

Music Therapy can benefit individuals of all ages and populations including those with:
• Developmental, Intellectual, and Learning Disabilities
• Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, and other age-related conditions
• Anxiety, Depression, and other emotional disturbances
• Early Childhood Intervention Needs
• Physical Disabilities
• Speech Impairments
• Neurological Impairments
• Visual Impairments
• Substance Abuse
• Brain Injuries
• Acute and chronic pain: including mothers in labor and premature infants.

Goals of music therapy can include, but are not limited to:
• Improvement in gross and fine motor skills
• Improvement in Communication skills, such as articulation or expressive language
• Improvement in Social/Emotional Skills such as increased self-esteem or elevated mood
• Improvement in Quality of life, such as reminiscence, decreased pain, or increased comfort in social settings
• Increase sustained attention
• Increase Coping skills

What is the difference between Music Education, Music Lessons and Music Therapy?

While musical activities take place in both education and therapy, the main difference between music education and music therapy is the goal. In music education and/or music lessons, the goal is to become more proficient on an instrument. In music therapy, musical pieces, instruments, and music-based interventions are used as therapeutic tools to help individuals reach their non-musical goals.


Learn More!

Check out these additional resources on Music Therapy and how it can help you and your family!

Case Studies:


Case Study I

“The wife of a man with severe dementia said, “When I was encouraged by a music therapist to sing to my husband who had been lost in the fog of Alzheimer’s disease for so many years, he looked at me and seemed to recognize me. On the last day of his life, he opened his eyes and looked into mine when I sang his favorite hymn. I’ll always treasure that last moment we shared together. Music therapy gave me that memory, the gift I will never forget.” “Dr. Oliver Sacks, at the Hearing before the Senate Special Committee on Aging entitled, “Forever Young: Music and Aging,” stated: “The power of music is very remarkable… One sees Parkinsonian patients unable to walk, but able to dance perfectly well or patients almost unable to talk, who are able to sing perfectly well… I think that music therapy and music therapists are crucial and indispensable in institutions for elderly people and among neurologically disabled patients.”

American Music Therapy Association


Case Study II

“A music therapist working in a community music school refers to one of her students as a “musical child.” The six-year old girl, who has physical and developmental delays, is somewhat verbal and interacts in a limited way with others. When she began music therapy at age three, it quickly became obvious that she had exceptional innate musical ability. She could play the piano by ear when she was two, although her hands have only four fingers each. And even though she rarely spoke, she sang – and in tune.

The last three years have resulted in significant growth. Through weekly individual 45-minute and then 60-minute music therapy sessions, the child has made progress in the length of her attention span, degree of independence and ability to follow directions. She now speaks one and two word phrases spontaneously, and there is also marked improvement in her social skills. In addition to singing and playing keyboard and piano, the child now plays the omnichord, autoharp, bells, chimes, xylophones, drum set and various small percussion instruments. In her initial stages of music therapy, when she played the keyboard and piano, she would not allow anyone else to play with her. Now,

however, she plays the melody and the therapist plays the accompaniment. The child’s preschool teacher has asked her to play for other children in her class, thereby using her musical strength to draw her into the group.”

American Music Therapy Association


Additional Testimonials

The father of a 5 year old child diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Observes: “Music therapy has helped my son to increase his concentration and attending. His eye contact has increased since participating in music therapy. Moreover, I believe that in part his increased use of language may be attributed to attending music therapy. Finally, he has developed an interest in music.” (Child has participated in individual music therapy for 1 1/2 years.)

The mother of a 6 1/2-year-old child diagnosed with Down Syndrome states: “Music therapy has helped my son to learn turn-taking, sharing, listening skills and some colors, animals, parts of the body and clothes.” (Child participated in group music therapy for 2 years in preschool and then in individual music therapy for 1 year in kindergarten.)

The mother of 7 year old twin sons, one diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and one diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, comments: “For one son music therapy seems to have reduced an extreme sensitivity to sound. For both boys, the therapy has been a catalyst for improved sociability. Much of the time the boys seem to exist on parallel universes, but on the drive home from therapy they usually have a conversation.” (The boys have participated in small group or partner music therapy sessions for two years.)

American Music Therapy Association – Music Therapy and Young Children

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