WHAT IS MUSIC THERAPY?

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. It is an established healthcare profession in which music is used to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words.

(American Music Therapy Association, 2005)

WHAT DOES A MUSIC THERAPIST DO?

 

Music therapists assess a client's overall development in areas like emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses. They design and implement music sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs that may include music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music. Music Therapists participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning, data tracking, on-going evaluation, and follow up.

 

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM MUSIC THERAPY?

 

Music Therapists work with a wide variety of populations 
including children, adolescents, adults, the elderly, people with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease and other aging related conditions, substance abuse, brain injuries, physical disabilities, acute and chronic pain, even mothers in labor! Music Therapy can be an effective intervention for children with a variety of disabilities including, but not limited to, Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Sensory Processing Disorder.

(American Music Therapy Association, 2005)

 

WHAT IS EARLY INTERVENTION?

 

Early intervention is a system of services for children, school-age or younger, who are at risk of developing a disabling condition or special need in which their development would be affected. Early intervention addresses the needs of children who are considered to be 'at-risk'. Early Intervention is designed to improve outcomes for children with disabilities by providing early, appropriate, and intensive interventions. Research in early intervention is numerous and shows many short and long-term benefits in areas of:
 

  • cognition and academic achievement

  • behavioral and emotional competencies

  • educational progression and attainment

  • future job market success

  • overall health!

 

WHO IS 'AT-RISK'?

 

Children may be considered 'at-risk' for a variety of reasons, both biological and environmental. The label is meant to distiguish children that could benefit from further intervention structured to enhance their development in one or more areas. The label could apply to children who are experiencing a developmental delay or disability.

 

The term 'at-risk' can also identify a child that has grown up in an environment of understimulation, poverty, 
welfare dependence, absentee parent(s), or a parent who has not completed highschool. Data suggests these children grow up to have worse health and educational outcomes, higher risk of dropping out of school, higher risk of teenage childbearing, lower paying jobs, and a higher rate of unemployment.

(U.S. Census Bureau, 2007)

 

Early intervention can create better outcomes for these children. When these problems are identified early in life, there is still time to shape development, and achieve more positive outcomes!

 

 

WHY CHOOSE MUSIC THERAPY?

 

The first years of your child's development lay a crucial foundation for the years to come! You can enhance your child's early learning in a fun way that will make a long-term impact! Music Therapy is a powerful and non-threatening medium, where unique outcomes are possible. The brain processes music in both hemispheres, allowing Music Therapy uniquely to stimulate development in the whole child. With young children, Music Therapy provides a unique variety of musical experiences in an intentional and developmentally appropriate manner that promote changes in a child’s behavior and facilitate development of the child's communication, social, emotional, sensory-motor, academic, and cognitive skills. It involves relationships that are structured and adapted through the elements of music to create a positive environment that will foster positive growth. Music Therapy enhances the quality of life!

 

  • Music stimulates all of the senses and involves the child at many levels. This “multi-modal approach” facilitates many developmental skills.
     

  • Quality learning and maximum participation occur when children are permitted to experience the joy of play. The medium of music therapy allows this play to occur naturally and frequently.
     

  • Music is highly motivating, yet it can also have a calming and relaxing effect. Enjoyable music activities are designed to be success-oriented and make children feel better about themselves.
     

  • Music therapy can help a child manage pain and stressful situations.

 

(American Music Therapy Association, 2005)

 

DOES RESEARCH SUPPORT MUSIC THERAPY?

 

AMTA promotes a vast amount of research exploring the benefits of music as therapy through publication of the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives and other sources. A substantial body of literature exists to support the effectiveness of music therapy. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people's motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.

(American Music Therapy Association, 2005)

 

Find more information about research in Music Therapy and Early Intervention below!

 

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

 

Begin the Music Therapy process by emailing us or filling out our initial inquiry form! We will be happy to answer your questions and help you decide if Music Therapy is right for your child and family.

 

All clients will begin with as "assessment" session aimed at getting to know your child. In this session we will get to know your child and their strengths, barriers, and interests. After this session a reccommendation will be made regarding which of our services best fits the needs of your child. We would then work together to establish goals for your child's progress!

AMTA promotes a vast amount of research exploring the benefits of music as therapy through publication of the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives and other sources. A substantial body of literature exists to support the effectiveness of music therapy. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people's motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.

(American Music Therapy Association, 2005)

 

 

Research in Music Therapy has shown results such as...

 

  • Increased weight gain in premature infants that recieved NICU music therapy services (Standley and Swedburg, 2011)

  • Significantly enhanced children’s print concepts and prewriting skills (Standley and Hughes, 1997)

  • Significant improvements in parent mental health, child behaviors, child communication, child responsiveness, child interest, and social play skills in families that attended music therapy groups as early intervention (Nicholson, 2008)

  • Increased attentive behavior in children with visual impairments (Robb, 2003)

  • Increased eye contact and joint attention in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (LaGasse, 2014)

  • Improvements in communication, interpersonal skills, personal responsibility, and play in children with ASD (Whipple, 2012)

  • Increased ability to identify and appropriately express emotions in children with ASD (Katagiri, 2009) 

  • Improved joint attention, memory, and visual recall in individuals with ASD (Kalas, 2012)

  • Enhanced auditory processing and other sensory/motor, perceptual/motor, or gross/fine motor skills in individuals with ASD (LaGasse & Hardy, 2013). 

  • Increased social engagement in the home environment and community (Thompson, McFerran, & Gold, 2013)

  • Overall improvement in target behaviors and teaching new skills when using musically adapted social stories (Brownell, 2002) 

 

 

 

 

MUSIC THERAPY RESEARCH & EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE SUPPORT

SOURCES

 

Brownell, M. (2002). Musically adapted Social Stories™ to modify behaviors in students with autism: Four case studies. Journal of Music Therapy, 39(2), 117-144. 

 

Kalas, A. (2012). Joint attention responses of children with autism spectrum disorder to simple versus complex music. Journal of Music Therapy 49(4), 430-452. 

 

Katagiri, J. (2009). The effect of background music and song texts on the emotional understanding of children with autism. Journal of Music Therapy, 46(1), 15-31. 

 

LaGasse, A. B. & Hardy, M. W. (2013). Considering rhythm for sensorimotor regulation in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Music Therapy Perspectives, 31(1). 67-77. 

 

Nicholson, J. M., Berthelsen, D., Abad, V., Williams, K., & Bradley, J. (2008). Impact of music therapy to promote positive parenting and child development. Journal of Health Psychology, 13(2), 226-238.

 

Robb, S. L. (1999). Piaget, erikson, and coping styles: Implications for music therapy and the hospitalized preschool child. Music Therapy Perspectives, 17(1), 14-19.

 

Robb, S. L. (2003). Music interventions and group participation skills of preschoolers with visual impairments: Raising questions about music, arousal, and attention. Journal of Music Therapy, 40(4), 266-282.

 

Standley, J. M., & Hughes, J. E. (1997). Evaluation of an early intervention music curriculum for enhancing prereading/writing skills. Music Therapy Perspectives, 15(2), 79-85.

 

Standley, J. M., & Swedberg, O. (2011). NICU music therapy: Post hoc analysis of an early intervention clinical program. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 38(1), 36-40.

 

Thompson, G., McFerran, K. & Gold, C. (2013). Family-centered music therapy to promote social engagement in young children with severe autism spectrum disorder: A randomized controlled study. Child: Care, Health & Development. 

 

Whipple, J. (2012). Music Therapy as an effective treatment with Autism Spectrum Disorders in early childhood: A meta-analysis. In P. Kern & M. Humpal (Eds.), Early childhood music therapy and autism spectrum disorders: Developing potential in young children and their families (pp. 59-76). London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT

THE AMERICAN MUSIC THERAPY ASSOCIATION

In my words...

Music Therapy is an innovative healthcare profession that combines some evidence-based elements of more traditional therapies with compelling research surrounding the many effects of music on the brain. A Board-Certified Music Therapist is trained to manipulate music to optimize the learning occurring and increase neural connectivity in the brain. This means an MT-BC can design music interventions to promote brain development and skill building in a WIDE variety of areas. The effect of music on the brain is profound. Music can be used skillfully to decrease anxiety, to make learning fun, and to make growth a little easier. Music can be crafted to promote certain responses in the body. I think the power of music is something many people feel already, but not as many people know, this power can be harnessed to affect positive outcomes in physical, emotional, social, communication, and cognitive development. I believe in utilizing this power of music, with the support of family and community to help children reach their goals through positive musical experiences! - Kristi Hanson, MT-BC

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