Toddlers/preschool age: Music therapy for very young children 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 toddlers and preschoolers while promoting active engagement in their hospital experience.
School-age: Music therapy for school-age kids can be similar to interventions provided for younger children, but 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 health care experience.
Teens: Music therapy for teens 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:
- Creation of playlists to promote mood change
- Lyric analysis to promote emotional processing, relaxation or movement goals
- Guided relaxation and learn techniques to be used outside of the music therapy session
Family 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.
About our music therapists
Our 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.
About our music therapy internship
Children’s Minnesota offers a six-month, full-time music therapy internship. Interns receive feedback and supervision from board-certified music therapists and other health care professionals. They participate in both individual and group music therapy sessions. Find out more.
Music therapy hours
We provide music therapy regularly on both hospital campuses Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.