The Power of Music: What is Music Therapy?
October 2, 2015
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.
Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. 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.
What is Music Therapy at Helping Hands Center?
At HHC, students receive music therapy in a variety of settings, including individual and group sessions and multi-modal sessions with psychologists or speech language pathologists. The music therapists assess each student for the setting that will be most successful based on their abilities and challenges, and each student receives a group music therapy session. Social and pragmatic language and communication skills, articulation, receptive and expressive language development, fine and gross motor skills, and cognitive skills may be targeted during a student’s music therapy session.
What is Large Group Music Therapy at Helping Hands Center?
All students at Helping Hands Center receive 30 minutes of music therapy in their classrooms as a large group. There are 2 15-minute classroom music therapy sessions per week in the Early Intervention classrooms and 1 half-hour classroom music therapy session per week in the preschool through middle school classrooms.
The classroom music therapy sessions target many of the skills our students find challenging. As they participate in songs, chants, finger plays, dances, and clapping games, students become a part of their class and school community, focusing on positive social interaction. There is an emphasis on joint attention, thus promoting an awareness of the environment. Research shows that during group music therapy experiences students exhibit an increase in following directions, conversational skills, responsiveness, and eye gaze and eye contact. Other skills that are targeted during large group music therapy are eye-hand coordination, problem solving, creativity and choice-making, persistence, self-control, keeping a steady beat, and listening. Almost all of these skills are targeted during one half-hour or 2 15-minute group music therapy sessions, and all of these skills are targeted using fun, playful activities that are easily remembered and reproduced in various settings.
If you have any questions about music therapy at Helping Hands Center, you can contact any of the music therapists on staff at the school. They can direct you specifically to your child’s music therapist(s), or they can answer any general questions you may have.
Tanya Corso, MT-BC, NMT, Department Supervisor:firstname.lastname@example.org
Alyssa Graber, MME, MT-BC:email@example.com
Kristin Kummer, MT-BC, MA:firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam Richardson, MT-BC:email@example.com
Valerie Robinson, MT-BC:firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Woolley, MT-BC:email@example.com