What You Need to Know: 3 Popular Music Therapy Questions

Do you have music therapy questions? Keep reading for three common questions.

Music therapy has been around for a very long time and there are many thoughts and opinions on the matter. With all the benefits of music therapy, especially for children, it’s imperative the general public is well-informed on the subject so they understand its importance.

Keep reading for answers on common questions about music therapy, and support our mission by visiting our contribution page

3 Answers to Common Music Therapy Questions

Question Number 1: What is music therapy?

Music Therapy is the applied use of music by a credentialed music therapist to address clinical goals to promote positive health outcomes.

The music therapist assesses the needs of the patient. In pediatric medicine, a common goal area is often pain management. The music therapist then creates a music-based intervention, bringing into consideration the patient’s music preferences, cognitive development, and emotional state to address the goal and produce a positive result. With pain management, examples of music interventions might include guided relaxation with live music, distraction through iPad beat-making, or songwriting to process the emotional response to pain.

Question Number 2: What’s the difference between a Music Therapist and a Musician?

Music therapists go through a four-year bachelor’s degree program in music therapy, a six-month clinical internship and pass a national board exam to become a music therapist.

On top of the rigorous training required to become credentialed, every music therapist must be an accomplished musician. They build upon a strong musical foundation to apply music in a therapeutic setting to support the person in need. The music therapist has a broader awareness of counseling and psychology methodology, how to assess a person’s needs, and how to facilitate interventions that give the person tools to move forward through their challenges.

A musician can play music to make someone feel better. A music therapist takes this to the next level by providing music within the lens of therapy.

Question Number 3: Music therapists play vibrations to target energy within the body, right?

No, that would be sound healing.

Sound healing is a completely different practice than music therapy. You might picture someone lying down with many gongs, drums, and singing bowls around them with a practitioner singing ‘Om.’ This is sound healing, not music therapy.

Music therapy is an evidenced-based practice grounded in research and observable results. While music therapists play vibrations of sound that effect the individual, the esoteric and energetic responses targeted in sound healing are not the cornerstone of music therapy practice. Sound healing is an interesting field, but it is not music therapy.

The Peterson Family Foundation is dedicated to explaining and informing individuals of the power of music therapy.

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