Music therapy is the therapeutic use of music to improve individuals' physical, mental, and emotional health. Music therapy is led by music therapists, who complete a bachelor's or master's degree in music therapy and earn a Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) credential. Music instructors, teachers, and musicians may also participate in music therapy sessions. Music therapists may lead both one-on-one and group sessions in schools, hospitals, elder care facilities, outpatient clinics, and community facilities.
While people of all ages can participate in music therapy, music therapists may specifically work with populations such as:
Before performing a musical therapy session, musical therapists may assess patients' physical and mental condition. They may also consider patients' musical background, developmental level, and physical abilities in order to design suitable musical therapy curricula. Music genres and styles are often tailored to patients' interests and ages. Musical therapy sessions may include lyric writing, patient performance through singing or musical instruments, musical imagery, and receptive music listening. Guitar, percussion, piano, and voice are all frequently used instruments in music therapy.
Through musical responses and improvisation, music therapy is thought to not only improve emotional well-being, but to promote cognitive ability and communication skills. Music therapy in nursing homes may enhance social and mental functioning among individuals with Alzheimer's disease or memory loss. Music therapy may also provide the following benefits: