What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is a discipline in which credentialed professionals (MTA) use music purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, health, and well-being. Music therapists use music safely and ethically to address human needs within cognitive, communication, emotional, musical, physical, social and spiritual domains.
Canadian Association of Music Therapists
What does a Certified Music Therapist do?
Conducts an Assessment
The first few sessions with a music therapist are an assessment period where health information, input from the client’s team (family members, caregivers, multi disciplinary team members; SLPs, teachers, recreation therapists etc..) and observation of musical responses are collected.
Develops a Treatment Plan
The music therapist then creates goals and objectives for the client to work towards, ultimately increasing their quality of life. Goal areas may vary broadly depending on the needs of the client. Music therapists create music experiences for the client to actively take part in to address the goals and objectives outlined in the plan.
Evaluates the Treatment Plan
Music therapists continually monitor their clients progress. They adapt and make changes to the treatment plan as required. Documentation is an important part of music therapy to ensure clients are benefitting from the program. The treatment plan ends when goals are met, clients are moving on or wish to discontinue music therapy.
What can music therapy assist with?
Music therapy interventions can address many aspects of one’s life. Music therapy goals are as broad as the clients we serve. Here are some common goal areas in music therapy;
Express and explore emotions
Motivate physical rehabilitation
Improve social interaction
Support childhood development
Who is Music Therapy for?
Music therapists serve a broad range of people with diverse backgrounds and needs.
Acquired Brain Injury
Mental Health Difficulties
Speech and Language Impairments
Teens at Risk
Victims of Abuse
What does a music therapist do?
Music therapists draw on many types of interventions, all of which are designed to promote active participation from the client.
Techniques music therapists adapt to work on specific goals include:
Movement and Dancing
Instrument playing/ Improvisations
Musical life review
Novel instrument exploration
Lyric Analysis and discussion
Musical games and learning activities
Becoming a Certified Music Therapist
Music Therapists must complete 3 stages of training to become a Certified Music Therapist (MTA).
Music Therapists must complete a degree program from an approved post-secondary institution: Bachelor of Music Therapy (BMT) or Masters of Music Therapy (MMT).
Music Therapists are required to complete an1000 hour internship upon completion of academic studies. This allows for Music Therapy Interns to develop their skills, try new approaches and to begin a process of self-evaluation. All music therapy interns are supervised by a Certified Music Therapist.
Upon completion of the internship, a music therapist must complete an exam with the Canadian Association of Music Therapists. When the music therapist passes the exam they become a Certified Music Therapist (MTA) and submit yearly continuing education requirements to maintain this designation.
For more information about Music Therapy programs in Canada visit here.