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What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy. These are two words that you may have never heard together in the same context. However, to a lot of us, seeing these two words together makes a lot of sense. How often do you use music as your own therapy? Whether you listen to uplifting music by Hillsong when you need hope, listen to a love song by Frank Sinatra when you feel in love, or wallow in Adele’s lyrics when your heart is broken, music acts as a therapy for many of us.

However, what a lot of people don’t know is Music Therapy is a professional field of research and practice. As defined by the American Music Therapy Association, “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 Therapists can be found in hospitals, nursing homes, rehab facilities, VA’s, psychiatric hospitals, prisons, or in private practices, working with patients who are terminally ill, physically disabled, intellectually delayed, have PTSD, dementia, depression, and much more. Music Therapists are trained in several instruments, music theory, psychology, and are taught how to address a variety of goals through many types of music and music interventions. In order to become a music therapist, you must pursue a 4 1/2 year degree in music therapy at an accredited university, completing 4 years of school work and a 6 month clinical internship.

I am currently in my final year of my undergraduate music therapy education at Belmont University in Nashville TN, and I am witnessing the impact of music therapy firsthand every week. During my first semester of practicum, I had the privilege of doing my practicum at an assisted living center in Nashville, TN. I was blessed enough to practice what I’ve learned with an older adult, addressing goals such as physical movement, reminiscing, and cognitive processing all through music. Specifically, “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley. In my second semester of practicum, I got to work with three boys with an array of special needs. I can’t even tell you how many times we got to sing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” as we worked on cognitive processing, decision making, balance and coordination and socialization.

The progress I witnessed and the relationships I’ve had with these patients has been one of the most impactful experiences I have ever had, and it was all because of music. I literally can’t wait to have a life full of meaningful work with countless individuals, working with the universal language that we all know and love. We all know the power of music and what music can do. Just imagine the power of Music Therapy.

Interested in Music Therapy? Contact me!

Music Therapy Programs:

Belmont University

Texas Women’s University

Sam Houston University

Southern Methodist University (SMU)

West Texas A&M University

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