Blue Ridge Music Therapy, LLC

Changing lives one note at a time

(434) 941-5951

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Music Therapy?
The American Music Therapy Association defines Music Therapy as 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.

Music Therapy is a unique therapeutic experience that can help people of all ages and abilities achieve their highest potential. This profound tool is most commonly utilized with people with physical, emotional, educational, and communication needs, but can be beneficial for anyone. Music Therapy can assist with stress reduction, family cohesion and communication, and relaxation. It has also been found to be extremely beneficial throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery, and in post-natal family transitions.

The American Music Therapy Association's January 2014 press release titled "What Music Therapy Is... And Is Not" can be helpful in continuing to clarify the difference between music therapy and music utilized in other areas.

How can Music Therapy help me?
Music serves as a unique motivation for many to become actively involved in experiences. In Music Therapy, each person is approached as the unique individual they are, basing all music and experiences on their specific strengths and needs.

Through a dynamic process of musical communication and reflection, each person is supported in their efforts to achieve their highest potentials in the areas of motor, communication, cognitive, affective/emotional and social development. Functioning both as a primary modality and adjunct support service, skills accomplished in Music Therapy carry over into all other areas of a person's life. A sense of accomplishment, self-acceptance, and creativity result in constructive and purposeful effort.

Can Music Therapy work for me if I don't know how to play an instrument?
The most important thing to understand is that no previous music training is necessary for you to benefit from Music Therapy services.

The Music Therapist determines what skills you need to work on, establishes specific non-musical goals, and creates an individualized treatment plan. This treatment plan utilizes specially designed music experiences to assist you in reaching the non-musical goals. The music experiences take into consideration the client's music history and are designed to be success-oriented.

What makes a Music Therapist different than other therapists?
Music Therapists are highly trained as musicians and are trained in counseling techniques, psychological needs of clients, group dynamics, physical development, anatomy, and psychosocial development. Each Music Therapist has received a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and has completed an extensive internship program following graduation. Music Therapists receive national board certification (Music Therapist-Board Certified), similar to the license requirements of other therapy modalities.

Music Therapists can work on similar goals as other therapies, but utilize music interventions to achieve progress toward those goals.

Someone came in to play for me while I was in the hospital. Is he/she a music therapist?
The only way to be certain is to ask. Music Therapists hold board certification from the Certification Board for Music Therapists and assist individuals in reaching individualized goals. Many hospitals have volunteers play instruments (most frequently harps) and/or sing for patients to provide relaxation. These volunteers do not have training to process a patient's response to music, but provide music as a form of entertainment.

Who do music therapists work with?
Professional music therapists work with a wide variety of people in a wide variety of settings. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) provides several Fact Sheets with more specific information on certain populations. The links in the list below will open the document in a new window through the AMTA website. For more information on the types of services Blue Ridge Music therapy offers specific individuals and situations, please contact us for information tailored to your needs.