What is Music Therapy?

Hi, my name is Ryan Judd, I'm a board certified music therapist and founder of The Rhythm Tree. I get asked the question all the time, well what is music therapy and how can I find a music therapist. So I'm here today to answer that question for you.

So music therapy is an established healthcare profession that uses research based interventions to help our clients reach non musical therapeutic goals. Ok, I know that's a mouthful, it's a lot to take in, I'm going to break it down for you and then give you a clear example.

So music therapy is an established healthcare profession. It's been around since the 1950s, there are programs all over the world, it's akin to speech therapy or physical therapy or occupational therapy and we use research based interventions. There is some fantastic research going on especially in the field of neurological music therapy and the strategies and techniques we use as music therapists are based on research and that's why they are so effective.

And we're helping our clients reach non-musical therapeutic goals. So this is where there's a line drawn between music education and music therapy. Our goal is to not teach our clients to play the guitar play the piano, learn to sing better. We have non-musical goals, so I'm going to give you an example.

I specialize in working with children with special needs. So many of these children with autism Down syndrome, they have speech and communication goals. Articulation, stringing words together, greetings and what I do is I custom write songs for my clients, so if a client's working on the S sound, I'll write a song with tons of S words and they get to practice those sounds and those words with lots of repetition without the monotony in a fun exciting musical creative environment.

Now music therapists are working with various populations. There are music therapists in the medical hospital setting, working on pain management, anxiety reduction, there's even music assisted childbirth. And there are music therapists in nursing homes, assisted living facilities in residential treatment centers, and the prison system. And music therapists doing psychotherapy. So there are so many applications on music therapy, so many specializations, so therefore the goals will differ quite greatly between different specializations.

Now I could talk about music therapy all day long and you might kind of get it, but the best way to get it is to see it in action, and that's why I've dedicated so much time and energy to developing my video blog, where I show you videos of me working with a client and try to teach you a little something about how you can use music, whether you're a musician or not. How can you use music to help children with special needs? I've got a link to the video blog right below. I also have a link to my newsletter, where I can give you more great free stuff, so please check it out, please sign on up.

Alright, let me answer the second part of the question, how do I find a music therapist? Well there are two great sites you can check out. There is American Music Therapy Association site and the Certification Board of Music Therapists site. I'll give you the links right below. You can put in your zip code and find all these music therapists in your area and what their specialties are.

Thanks so much for watching this video, I hope you found it helpful. Take care.


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