About Music Therapy

What is music therapy?

Music therapy is the systematic use of music and music-based interventions within a therapeutic relationship to accomplish individualized goals.

Music therapy goals are non-musical (such as ‘to increase expressive language or ‘to improve gross motor skills’) and may fall under the following domains: motor/physical, communication, social/emotional, cognitive/academic, and sensory.


Here’s how music-based interventions are used to address therapeutic goals in children special needs:

Motor/Physical: instrument playing, movement activities, and dancing are used to improve gross and fine motor skills, increase strength and endurance, and improve balance and posture.

Communication: therapeutic singing and oral motor and respiratory exercises are used to improve articulation and increase verbal communication skills. 

Social/Emotional: instrumental improvisation, musical games, and group movement activities with the parachute and stretchy band are used to improve social skills.

Cognitive/Academic: musical instruments are used to practice skills such as localizing and visual tracking. Music therapists also work closely with the classroom teachers and reference Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) to address academic concepts (i.e. letters, numbers, colors, rhyming words, counting, etc.) in our songs.

Sensory: musical instruments provide auditory, visual, and tactile stimulation. 

* We use all original songs during our music therapy sessions with children, in order to ensure that our interventions are directly targeting client needs. Songs used during music therapy interventions are goal oriented, upbeat, rhythmic, and FUN! *


Who can benefit from music therapy?

Music therapy can benefit many different populations, including:

  • Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • Children with autism & other special needs
  • Individuals with mental illness
  • Hospitalized patients
  • Adults dealing with substance abuse
  • Individuals with neurologic disorders such as multiple sclerosis and TBI
  • Elderly adults with dementia and hospice patients

Why is music an effective medium for therapy? 

There are many reasons why music is an effective medium for bringing about functional changes in behavior.

Here are just a few… 

Research has shown that when the brain takes in information, it prefers it to be in an organized, structured form, rather than discrete bits of information.
Musical instruments such as the ocean drum, cabasa, tone  bars, and drums provide unique visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation.
Rhythm can be used to structure movement patterns, accent specific words or sounds, and help sustain a client’s attention throughout the therapeutic intervention and session.
Music is our way ‘in.’ Music therapists can use music to engage children with autism so we can work on other skills, such as joint attention, expressive language, or socialization. 
“Chunking” (grouping information into smaller units) and repetition in songs allow non-musical information to be remembered and recalled more easily.
For example, high notes on a piano can cue a child to play their shaker high; low notes can cue the child to play low.
Music crosses boundaries of age, gender, and culture. Nearly everyone responds to music in some way. 
The music and the upbeat rhythm are what motivate the children to be engaged and participate.

We offer the following services:

  • Individual music therapy
  • Adapted & traditional music lessons
  • Group music therapy
  • Co-treatment sessions

Click here to learn more about the services we provide.


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