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A Complete Guide to Music Therapy

Music Therapy: The best therapy to soothe your mind and resets the soul. It refreshes your body and gives you fresh energy by reducing all your stress. Let’s know how does it work for you and what are the benefits of music therapy?

What Is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is a part of expressive arts therapy that uses music to enhance and maintain a person’s physical, psychological, and social well-being. It includes a variety of activities, such as singing, playing an instrument, and listening to music.

In the definition of music therapy, we also include that it is a natural way to boost your mood through music. Certified persons who have a deep knowledge of music may become music therapists. They use their knowledge to find the specific music which may help those who need therapy for autism, insomnia, or other diseases. 

Listening, communicating, and comprehending are all part of music therapy. It is a well-liked technique that applies to calm and relax patients in clinics, educational facilities, and other healthcare services.

All parts of the mind, body, brain, and lifestyle are affected by music therapy. The body’s rhythms may be slowed down by music, and it can also change our mood, which can affect our actions.

“Music is a Therapy. It is a Communication Far More Powerful Than Words, Far More Immediate, Far More Efficient.”

History of Music Therapy

There have been various forms of music therapy for centuries. But, Do you know, when did the music for therapy start? Who started the first?

Thousands of various methods, each with its own goal and set of beliefs, have been used for therapy. If you want to discover more about the history of music therapy and why it is a respected profession? Don’t skip any points, keep reading till the end.

The works of Aristotle and Plato are undoubtedly the first sources for the concept of utilizing How music can help you heal and change behavior and health. It extends considerably further back in other civilizations such as Egyptian and Chinese.

The first recorded mention of music therapy was in a late 18th-century piece named “Music Physically Considered” in Columbian Magazine.

Early in the 19th century, two medical dissertations – one by Edwin Atlee in 1804 and another by Samuel Mathews in 1806 – both wrote on the therapeutic effects of music. They both are students of Dr. Benjamin Rush, a physician, and psychiatrist. Dr. Benjamin Rush thought that music may ‌cure physical health issues. 

Music therapy gained more popularity in the 20th century, too. In 1903, Eva Augusta Vescelius established the National Society of Musical Therapeutics, while in 1926, Isa Maud Ilsen established the National Association for Music in Hospitals.

Willem van de Wall published the first book on music therapy in 1936 and was a champion in using it in state-funded institutions. Three people made their mark on the establishment of music therapy as a formalized clinical profession in the 1940s as pioneers and major figures in the field. The “father of music therapy,” Thayer Gaston, made contributions to the development of the field’s organizational and educational structures. The 1940s also saw the development of the first music therapy college training programs.

Parallel to this, Harriet Ayer Seymour founded The National Foundation of Music Therapy in 1941.

In 1944, Michigan State University launched the first academic music therapy program. The University of Kansas, Chicago Musical College, College of the Pacific, and Alverno College soon followed.

The AMTA is the single biggest music therapy association in the US, representing music therapists in more than 30 other nations. The National Association for Music Therapy (NAMT) and the American Association for Music Therapy (AAMT) merged to establish the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) in 1998. 

Currently, AMTA acts as the intellectual hub for music therapists who are supporting students, graduate students, and others. The purpose of AMTA is to promote and instruct the therapy industry‌.

WellHeal is also coming with the mission to heal people with the power of music, meditation, and counseling.

What are the types of Music Therapy?

Types Of Music Therapy

Music therapy can be an active process in which clients take part in creating music, or a passive one in which clients listen to or respond to music. Some therapists may employ a hybrid strategy that includes both active and passive musical engagements.

Different Types of Music Therapy

1. Benenzon Music Therapy

In this therapy, the process of composing music is combined with some psychoanalytical ideas. Finding your “musical sound identity” – the exterior sounds that most closely resemble your interior psychological state – is a part of Benenzon music therapy.

2. Community Music Therapy

The primary goal of this therapy is to use music to encourage revolutionary progress. Each participant must be highly engaged because it is done in a group environment.

3. Cognitive-Behavior Music Therapy (CMBT)

This kind of music therapy integrates music and cognitive behavior therapy. Music is frequently used in this form of treatment to reinforce some habits while changing others. Similar to other therapy methods, this therapy frequently involves improvising other activities. People can sing, dance, play musical instruments, and listen to music.

4. Analytical Music Therapy

The process is more creative, and the therapist will advise you to use singing or playing an instrument to engage in a musical dialogue that will enable you to express your unconscious ideas. You can identify the things that have been brought up during the session using these strategies, and you can then think about them. 

5. Dalcroze Eurhythmics

The Dalcroze method is a way of listening to music, enjoying it, and then using your body to convey your feelings. The Dalcroze technique was initially used to impart self-expression and spatial awareness to people via utilizing the synchronization of the body and the mind while listening to music. Additionally, this approach may foster relaxation while improving creativity and imagination, as well as acceptance and feel included while in a big group.

6. Nordoff-Robbins’s Music Therapy

Using a different instrument, the therapist will frequently accompany someone using Nordoff-Robbins’ approaches as they play an instrument. This method will allow music to foster self-expression and is typically an improvised procedure, just like analytical music therapy.

7. Vocal Psychotherapy

To connect with their inner impulses and emotions, people will employ a variety of voice exercises, breathing exercises, and natural sounds, as stated in the technique’s name. A method for deepening your sense of connection with oneself is vocal psychotherapy.

8. The Bonny method of guided imagery and music (GIM)

Classical music is used in this type of treatment to inspire the imagination. With this approach, you describe the emotions, perceptions, recollections, and imaginings you have when listening to music. 

Depending on the client’s needs, some therapists combine receptive and active music therapy strategies.

How Does Music Therapy Work?

Music has tremendous power. It serves as the foundation for a sort of therapy that you could have known as “music therapy.” It comes in a variety of forms. Some entail merely conversing while listening to soothing music. Others include playing music using instruments, which can be beneficial for those who have difficulty communicating verbally.

Positive physiological habits are promoted by music therapy. For instance, during guided meditation practice, the patient would be taught to control their breathing, which might drop their blood pressure and encourage muscular relaxation. These physical results can have a good impact on psychological health and help the patient cope with pain or stress more resolutely.

A strong foundation for managing and regulating emotional and intellectual problems is provided by positive physiological habits. Patients who have trouble concentrating their attention or outlining their sentiments, for instance, may benefit from being asked to listen to a piece of music and explain their emotional reactions.

Best For You: A – Z Guide Of How Does Music Help You in Study

How To Get Music Therapy Training?

Speak with your doctor or therapist if you want to gain knowledge more about music therapy. They can put you in touch with therapists in your area. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) also maintains a network of board-certified, credentialed professionals from which you may locate a working music therapist in your region.

You can arrange music therapy sessions regularly, such as once a week, just like you would with a psychotherapist, or you can engage with a music therapist on an “as-needed” basis. Before your first appointment, discuss your concerns with your music therapist so you know what to expect, and may consult with your primary care physician if necessary.

Difference: Music Therapy Vs Sound Therapy

The goals, methods, tools, and environments of music therapy and sound therapy (or sound healing) are all different.

1. Certain frequencies and harmonics are used in sound healing, which is supposed to heal the body. Music therapy employs a cacophony of frequencies and harmonies to elicit an emotional reaction.

2. Some tertiary music therapy programs include sound healing as a component. Academic research has validated music therapy, and it is still used in many therapeutic settings.

3. Listening to selected healing music, Meditating, Chanting or vocal sound expression, Voice toning, Dancing, and moving to music are all examples of music therapy healing sessions. In a sound healing therapy session, instruments like the Chinese gong, moon gong, or other types of gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, crystal quartz bowls, Tuning forks, Biosonic Forks, Weighted Forks, Wind Chimes, Tingshas, Bells, Drums, Ocean Drums, Rain Sticks, Harmoniums, Harmony Balls, Shakers, Hang, handpans, Panflutes, and others may be used.

4. Music therapy focuses on treating symptoms like stress and discomfort, whereas sound therapy employs equipment to create precise sound frequencies.

5. As compared to music therapists, people who practice sound therapy have less standardized education and certification requirements.

6. While sound therapists may provide their services as a part of complementary or alternative medicine, music therapists frequently work in hospitals, drug treatment facilities, or private workplaces.

7. Since music therapy does not rely on verbal communication, it may be more beneficial for those who find it difficult to express themselves orally. This could result from a mental health problem, acquired brain damage, neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, or a disability.

8. Counseling and CBT are both talking therapies, therefore they might not be appropriate for those who have trouble communicating verbally. This is a situation where music therapy may be useful.

Uses of Music Therapy in Healing

Uses of Music Therapy

The first step is to establish goals before starting Music Therapy. Because therapists know different types of music therapy techniques to heal your body and mind. If you find the “music healing near me”, you get lots of suggestions.

So, whenever you find it, the first thing to tell the therapist is why you want Music Therapy. They understand all your concern and give the best choice of music for therapy.

  • Music Therapy For Depression & Anxiety

If you are depressed and want to improve your mood naturally, depression music may help you in therapy. Using music in therapy can enhance one’s mental, emotional, and social well-being. According to studies, it could aid in the treatment of several health issues, including anxiety and depression. 

  • Music Therapy For Insomnia

In-depth research reveals that music therapy improved the quality of patients’ sleep. Music readily generates movements that activate interactions between perception and action systems. Patients with insomnia may be sensitive to music, and listening to music has been suggested as a therapeutic approach for treating insomnia patients.

Suggestion: How Does Listening To Music Help You Sleep Better?

  • Music Therapy for Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Music therapy has been shown to improve cognition and decrease the progression of memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia illness by allowing them to interact with a personalized musical routine. A participant and a music therapist who has completed an approved music therapy program work together to provide participants with music therapy, which is a clinical and evidence-based intervention.

  • Music for Healing Past Trauma  

According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event (an accident, sexual abuse, natural disaster, etc.). There are several techniques for processing and healing trauma. One of them is music therapy. A safe or neutral environment may be created for relaxing through the targeted use of music and music therapy. These techniques also include identifying and expressing feelings of helplessness, bolstering feelings of security and self-confidence, and building coping mechanisms.

Music Therapy For Mental Health Issues

Following are some of how music therapy benefits patients:

  1. Addiction to Substances

According to research, music therapy may enhance a person’s mood, feeling of purpose, and drive to change when they have a mood disorder.

  1. Schizophrenia

Using music therapy to treat schizophrenia patients helped them live better lives and have fewer symptoms, according to a 2020 evaluation of 18 research.

  1. Developing emotionally healthy habits

When emotions are identified and recognized securely, you can improve the way people express their needs and feelings in every situation. Learning how to communicate emotions safely, whether orally or nonverbally, through Music therapy can help with emotional control. 

  1. Increasing the capacity for frustration

Through something creative‌, music therapy allows one to focus on developing frustration tolerance in a controlled atmosphere. to work on understanding how to feel and overcome frustration, a music therapist can involve the client in a structured improvisation focused on topics related to mental health. Additionally, music therapy can teach patients how to relax so that irritation doesn’t build up.

  1. Improving self-esteem:

Increased understanding of one’s actions and self-esteem through music therapy might be easy. When you are experiencing your lowest points, it’s difficult to be nice to yourself. A music therapist can help you through your darkest moments and help you discover the positive qualities that will see you through the difficult times and help you look forward to the wonderful times that arise.

Music Therapy For Kids

One in sixty-eight Americans will have autism, and while early detection increases the likelihood of successful treatment, autism is not something we can overcome.

The ability to communicate and engage with others – are two things that autistic children struggle with & that we might encourage through music therapy. Music therapy develops their identities, Improves their communication skills, learns to regulate their emotions, etc.

Benefits Of Music Therapy

Benefits Of Music Therapy

Every age group, even very young children, can benefit from music therapy since it’s unique to the individual. For people with a range of musical expertise levels, it is beneficial. 

It can increase your positive feelings like calmness, Euphoria, confidence, Emotional intimacy, etc. It fulfills social needs and relieves all your stress and anxiety. Music therapy for students strengthens their skills, improves communication, and develops learning ability.

1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Music therapy can make people feel less anxious. Research by the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience group found that meditation-associated anxiety reduction was triggered by brain regions connected to executive function and concern management. 

2. Increases Immunity

Cortisol, a hormone linked to a host of illnesses and immune system deterioration, can be reduced by listening to music. A high level of cortisol in your system increases your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, impairs cognition, and lowers bone density. Weirdly, music has the power to transform all of this. Check out our playlist to boost the Immunity System.

3. Improves Your Communication Skills

Music activates the brain and enhances verbal and visual abilities, according to studies. Music therapy improves the capacity to comprehend and describe the meaning of new words increased after a month of musical instruction for kids ages four to six. Another study found that kids between the ages of eight and eleven who take music lessons grow to have better verbal and visual IQs.

4. Helps You To Sleep Peacefully

It is hardly unexpected that music improves our sleep quality since so many people use it to help them fall asleep. Since it lowers heart rates and stress levels, two of the main causes of insomnia, it can be used as a treatment to enhance sleep. Because of its various health advantages, music can help establish a healthier sleep pattern and sustain peaceful sleep. It is occasionally even used to treat insomnia.

5. Strengthens Your Heart

Through the release of endorphins in our brains, music strengthens the heart. Some doctors employ music as a part of the recuperation process for patients who have experienced heart disease because endorphins promote vascular health. 

6. Sharpen mind and memory

A Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease study found that simple music listening exercises significantly improved memory and cognitive function in older persons who had some early indicators of cognitive deterioration after three months.

7. Lift Mood

According to McGill University research, listening to music lifts your mood by generating dopamine, the brain chemical responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward.

Who Can Get Benefits From Music Therapy?

Children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities person’s, Alzheimer’s, substance abuse issues, brain injuries, physical disabilities, acute and chronic pain, pregnant mothers, etc are taking music therapy. 

Children with various disorders and/or special needs are treated by Music Therapy Connections, which specializes in this area. To affect behavioral changes in children and promote the development of their communication, social/emotional, sensory-motor, and/or cognitive skills, music therapy offers a special diversity of musical experiences in an intentional and developmentally appropriate way.

What is the cost of music therapy? 

The Music Therapy prices vary from $35 per 15 minutes to $140 per hour. And it shows a fast recovery in the short time in the past. Even while normal therapy provides advantages similar to these, many people prefer to find the nearest music therapy instead of continually discussing their issues, in which case music therapy is the ideal solution for them.

Important Things To Considered Before Taking Music Therapy

Have you ever visited a clinic without having the doctor’s contact information? No. You may do the same thing before discussing music therapy. 

We advise you to discuss the safety of music therapy with your audiologist before beginning it. If you have a physical condition that makes it difficult to exercise, you may not be a suitable candidate for music therapy that includes dance or movement.

When combined with medicine, psychotherapy, and other therapies, music therapy will be an important part of a treatment strategy. Before beginning music therapy, ‌confirm the advantages of your health insurance. Your plan could pay for or refund your sessions, but you might need a doctor’s referral.

What happens in Music Therapy Sessions?

The Music Therapy sessions ‌are divided into 2 types of sessions.

  1. Active Techniques
  2. Receptive Techniques

A person uses active techniques when they make music, whether they are singing, chanting, playing an instrument, writing music, or improvising.

Receptive techniques imply hearing music and interacting with it ‌either by dancing or analyzing the lyrics.

However, both are used to express thoughts, beliefs, and ambitions. You may perform it either alone or in groups.

Playing basic melodies on a piano or tapping out a rhythm on drum pads can help a person with impaired motor abilities improve their cognitive skills.

Listening to a rhythmic stimulus, such as a steady beat, can also aid in the beginning, coordination, and timing of motions. It helps in communication after a stroke, singing words or short phrases set to a simple melody.

A therapist could play a piece of music for autistic children with impaired health skills and ask them to visualize the emotional condition of the person who composed it or the person who is playing it. This can assist a person with autism in developing or strengthening the capacity to consider the feelings of others.

Drumming circles in groups have been used to produce calm. Members of the group may sit in a circle with a hand drum while the therapist leads them in drumming exercises that may entail the group members drumming one at a time or all at once. A rhythmic beat on a drum may be requested from those in the circle to communicate their emotions, or the group may be invited to improvise music to strengthen their bonds as a unit.

With these methods in Music therapy, you can increase your imagination and get relaxation to your muscle.

Music Therapy Tools

Whether you are writing a song or listening to a song, The use of music therapy is more than then art therapy. Most music therapy sessions are done under close observation, and the therapist makes use of various tools or other techniques to carry out the program effectively. Music therapists employ a wide range of techniques and activities. 

Requires Tools while Therapy

  1. Musical instruments
  2. A speaker
  3. A screen for visual activities
  4. Paper and pen

Music Therapy Exercises

Today, Music Therapy reaches its height, and many successful musical therapies and exercises are specifically tailored to human needs. The following is a selection of popular group activities and other therapies that you may be interested in. 

  1. Music Bingo
  2. Music Relaxation
  3. Music Selection


The information provided here is just for educational purposes only. Kindly consult your physician before making any medical changes.