Music Therapy

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What is music therapy?

Music therapy is a professional healthcare discipline that uses the clinical applications of music to achieve non-musical goals. Specifically applied music therapy interventions help establish a non-threatening, supportive environment in which the needs of patients and families can be met creatively.

197245-1Who may benefit from music therapy?

Patients and families do not need a musical background to benefit from music therapy. Music therapists serve patients ranging from newborn to young adults at various levels of engagement and responsiveness, from sedated to active. Children at any developmental age or level of functioning may participate in music therapy.

What are the potential benefits of music therapy?

197245-2• Pain management
• Physical rehabilitation
• Anxiety and stress reduction
• Expression
• Family support
• Relaxation
• Normal growth and development
• Opportunities for choice and control
• Positive change in mood and emotional states
• Learning coping skills and techniques
• Effect positive physiological changes

Who provides music therapy?

Music therapists are trained at a bachelor's or master's degree level and have completed a supervised, clinical internship using music therapy. Practicing music therapists are required to obtain and maintain certification (MT-BC)through the Certification Board for Music Therapists.


What types of services are provided?

Instrument play Singing Improvisation Song writing Lyric discussion Music-assisted relaxation Music for procedural support Recording CD compilation Music for end-of-life

197245-4When are music therapy services provided?

Music therapy hours in Minneapolis:
Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00

Music therapy hours in St. Paul:
Mondays 9:30-4:00
Wednesday 9:30-4:00
Fridays 9:30-1:00.

What might a music therapy session be like?

Although all music therapy sessions are different, here are some illustrations of commonly used interventions.

Infants: Music therapy for this age group is typically aimed at relaxation or developmental stimulation goals. A music therapist may sing or hum softly to your baby, play a reverie harp or guitar, and use a variety of interactive percussion instruments and songbooks to encourage reaching, grasping, visual attention and interaction. A music therapist may adapt music to be appropriate for infants who are able to tolerate only minimal levels of stimulation. A music therapist may encourage parent involvement through singing along, rocking, or providing touch. A music therapist may also provide education to parents on using music to encourage normal growth and development. Music therapy may reduce stress in infants, increasing oxygen saturation and lowering heart and breathing rate.

Toddlers/Preschool age: Music therapy for this age group encourages creative expression of emotions, opportunities for choices and control, and ways to cope with their hospital experience. Music therapy can also help provide distraction during uncomfortable procedures. A music therapist may provide opportunities to play and choose instruments such as drums, shakers, xylophones, and harmonicas. Playing and listening to familiar songs can create a feeling of security for this age group while promoting active engagement in their hospital experience.

School-age: Music therapy for this age group can be similar to interventions provided for younger children, however older children may be able to engage in more complex interventions such as songwriting, free improvisation, and guided relaxation techniques. A school-aged child may be able to engage in projects which take more than one session to complete, such as writing and recording an original song or learning a simple song on the guitar or xylophone. These interventions can promote mastery and self-esteem, as well as encourage involvement in their healthcare experience.

Teen-age: Music therapy for this age group can be helpful for actively processing feelings and emotions associated with illness, developing techniques to cope with anxiety and pain, and providing normative musical experiences. Teens may engage in songwriting, creation of CDs and/or playlists, and lyric analysis to promote emotional processing, relaxation or movement goals. Teens may also engage in guided relaxation and learn techniques to be used outside of the music therapy session.

Family-Centered Sessions: Family participation is encouraged in all sessions to the degree that the family desires. Siblings and family members are encouraged to sing, play instruments, and actively engage in the music therapy process. Family and siblings may benefit from an opportunity to participate in a creative, supportive outlet, which can reduce stress and promote well-being.

Collaboration with other hospital disciplines: Music therapists may collaborate with various other hospital disciplines such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, integrative medicine, chaplaincy, and child life. For example, a music therapist may co-treat during an occupational therapy session, encouraging grasp or fine motor skills through instrument play.

To request music therapy, please contact:

Erinn Frees
Phone: 612-813-7394
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Sarah Woolever
Phone: 612-813-6252
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St. Paul
Sarah Woolever
Phone: 651-220-6078
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