Music therapy is a highly individualized service where a music therapist works one-on-one with a person or in a group setting to meet specific goals that the person or the group has. What kind of goals does a person have in music therapy? That’s a difficult question to easily answer since a music therapy can be used in so many different ways. It can be used to help a person express their emotions by playing an instrument or writing songs together. A person might also work on improving his or her muscle strength or hand/eye coordination by playing an instrument. You don’t have to play an instrument to benefit from music therapy, though. Some people sing or listen to music in their therapy sessions to process their feelings and express themselves through music.
It is important to understand that music therapy is not music lessons. Music education is a wonderful thing, but it just isn’t music therapy. The point of music therapy is not to teach a person to sing or play an instrument. Rather, it is to teach them life skills through music making. It doesn’t matter if you are a good piano player, guitar player, or singer! Music therapy is about socializing, interacting, and connecting while making music together. Sure, you may learn some chords or how to basically figure out how a particular instrument works; but the point is for a person to express himself or herself, not to learn music theory. In other words, everyone can take advantage of music therapy, regardless of one’s physical, communication, cognitive, or motor disabilities!
One question that comes up a lot: “Is music therapy just for kids?” Easy answer: absolutely not! Music therapists work with infants to folks upwards of a 100-years-old. Music therapy even has applications in hospice and palliative care. Music is a universal way to connect and engage that knows no age boundaries.
Let’s say that you are interested in starting music therapy up with Sweet Behavior. What happens next? If you are looking at beginning services with Sweet Behavior or are looking to switch providers, the first step is to give us a call. We will get some information from you about yourself/your loved one you are calling about. This will give us a chance to see if we have any current openings in your area and for us to match you/your loved one with the perfect music therapist to meet yours/your loved one’s needs. After this, a music therapist might want to meet with you/your loved one to gather more history or information. Before deciding to come to Sweet Behavior, you/your loved one can always request a meeting with one of our music therapists before making a final decision. If you are new to services, we strongly encourage you to call around and interview as many providers as possible to learn about the services in your area. Remember: you/your loved one always has a choice!
Once you have selected Sweet Behavior and we have paired you/your loved one up with a music therapist, the next step is for a music therapist to meet with you and/or your loved ones to talk about the goals that music therapy can help you achieve, talk about the music that you/your loved one prefers, and how your music therapist can best help you/your loved one to achieve those goals.
After the initial meeting, the music therapist will conduct a music therapy assessment to help your music therapist further identify your/your loved one’s strengths and growth opportunities which can be addressed in music therapy. As a team, you will start to develop a plan of therapy with individualized interventions to help you/your loved one reach his or her goals. Music therapists usually have sessions with folks once a week, but can meet more frequently at times, especially if therapy is also being provided in a group setting. Music therapy can be provided at someone’s home, at our music clinic, or at a day program.