Music therapy is the prescribed use of music and musical interventions in order to restore, maintain, and improve emotional, physical, physiological, and spiritual health and well-being. Within this definition are the key elements that define interventions as music therapy.
While music has been used as a therapeutic mean for centuries, music therapy did not emerge as an organized profession until 1950 with the establishment of the National Association for Music Therapy and the American Association for Music Therapy in 1971. When the two associations merged in 1998, the new acronym became AMTA. The American Music Therapy Association. A.M.T.A.'s mission is "To advance public awareness of the benefits of music therapy and increase access to quality music therapy services in a rapidly changing world." (AMTA, 1998)
Music therapy is prescribed by members of the client's treatment team. Members can include doctors, social workers, psychologists, teachers, caseworkers, or parents.
Music is the primary therapeutic tool.
Using music to establish a trusting relationship, the music therapist then works to improve the client's physical and mental functioning through carefully structured activities. Examples can include singing, listening, playing instruments, composition, moving to music, and music and imagery exercises.
A trained music therapist administers music. A music therapist's education and training is extensive. Musical interventions are developed and used by the therapist based on his/her knowledge of the music's affect on behavior, the client's strengths and weaknesses, and the therapeutic goals.
A client receives music therapy and it targets a wide range of clinical populations and client ages.
Music therapy works towards specific therapeutic goals and objectives. Goal areas include communicative, academic, motor, emotional, and social skills. It is important to be aware that while clients may develop their musical skills during treatment, these skills are not the primary concern of the therapist. Rather it is...