Music therapy is a health care profession which uses music to effect therapeutic change.

Music therapists are board-certified (MT-BC), and licensed (in some states).  Music therapists must complete 1200 hours of clinical internship experience, an approved Bachelor, Master or Ph. D. level music therapy degree program, and pass a board-certification exam.

In the hospital setting, doctors, nurses and other medical staff may refer a patient for music therapy services.  Music is clinically recognized to influence biological responses include:

  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Respiration rate
  • Cardiac output
  • Muscle tone
  • Pupillary reponse
  • Skin response
  • Immune system
  • Endorphin production

Music can entrain the body to calm or accelerate.

  • Sedative music can be used to

o   Reduce anxiety

o   Reduce pain perception

o   Reduce tension and stress,

resulting in less use of anesthetics and pain medication, shorter recovery, higher patient compliance and higher patient and family satisfaction.

  • Stimulative music can be used to

o   Provide physical and psychological motivation

o   Provide positive reinforcement for physical therapy

Through successful music therapy intervention, patients can regain a sense of confidence, independence, and control over their circumstances.  Music therapy gives patients and families a familiar and positive way to cope with the hospitalization experience.

Music therapists assist patients with refocusing attention during painful procedures or extended treatments such as dialysis.  Music therapists are trained in counseling to provide emotional support to patients and families, as well as staff.

Music therapy is appropriate for all ages from NICU through hospice care.  Patients who benefit from music therapy in medicine include post-stroke, pre- and post-op, cardiac rehab, respiratory rehab, developmental delay, cancer treatment, psychological diagnoses such as anxiety and depression, Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Parkinson’s Disease, hospice and palliative care.

Neurologic Music Therapists (NMT) assist with:

  • speech and language training,
  • sensorimotor (gait, functional movement and exercise)
  • cognitive training (attention, memory, perception and executive functioning).