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Listening to Music

Common Queries

All the Answers You Seek, In One Place

What is music therapy?

Clinical music therapy is an evidence based, healthcare practice that uses music as an augmentative tool to help service users reach their fullest potential by meeting non-musical goals. It can be difficult to describe music therapy in one sentence so here are some examples;

Music therapy can help with emotional regulation, sensory issues, stress and social skills in children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. 

Music therapy in mental health can be used to help individuals who feel that classical (talk) psychotherapy may not be suitable for them or who wish to augment their practice by adding a creative outlet. As has been noted by countless authors, musicians and people of all creeds and colours, music and songs can express hidden inner worlds and say things that cannot be expressed through words alone. Music therapy can help individuals facing mental health challenges to cope with stress, understand themselves better and cope with whatever it is that life throws at them. 

"Neurologic music therapy (NMT) is based on neuroscientific models of music perception and music production and the influence of music on changes in non-musical brain and behaviour function"(Thaut, McIntosh & Hoemburg, 2014). This means that NMT techniques can promote neuro-plasticity to help service users to recover from neurologic injuries resulting from neuro-degenerative disorders (e.g. Parkinsons disease), stroke and traumatic brain injuries.

Do you need to be a musician to participate in music therapy?

Music therapy is applicable to anybody who enjoys music. You do not need to be able to play an instrument or to sing to benefit from music therapy (although you may be invited to do so!). Depending on your individual needs, a suitable programme will be developed using musical methods to help you make the most of life.

How long does each therapy session take?

Music therapy sessions usually last between forty minutes and one hour although this can vary. We tailor our sessions to suit individual needs. For individuals with additional support needs such as PMLD (profound multiple learning disabilities), sessions may be shorter, whilst group workshops may last as long as an entire day!

What will I do at a music therapy session?

What you will be doing at a music therapy session can vary widely depending on who you are and what you hope to achieve from music therapy. The main purpose of music therapy is to achieve non-musical goals through musical means. A music therapy session may include some of the following activities depending on what goals are targeted;


Playing instruments

Playing musical games 

Listening to music

Talking about what the musical experience was like (emotions, memories, etc)




More information...

For more information about music therapy in general, see our useful links section.

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