What is Music Therapy

This is a question we get asked all the time. Here’s how we at Prelude Music think about music therapy:

Music therapy is an established health care profession where certified music therapists use music as the tool or vehicle to work on non-musical outcomes and unlock your potential.

The Canadian Association of Music Therapists also defines music therapy as:

A discipline in which credentialed professionals (MTA*) use music purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, health, and well-being. Music therapists use music safely and ethically to address human needs within cognitive, communicative, emotional, musical, physical, social, and spiritual domains. (June 2016)

*Music Therapist Accredited/Musicothérapeute accrédité

Benefits of Music Therapy

While you can see there are lots of reasons for someone to attend music therapy the benefits of music therapy also run just as deep.  We consider music therapy to be a bit of a sneaky therapy, meaning, at first glance it may just look like the client is playing, making or listening to music but as you peel the layers back, there are so many outcomes that are being simultaneously addressed within one session. There is no one size fits all in the way our team executes music therapy sessions, this allows us to tailor make our sessions and live in the moment about the clients’ needs, wants and preferences.

The end goal of music therapy is for the skills we are working on within our session to transfer out into the rest of the client’s life. Within the music therapy setting, some of the common things we can be working on include :


  • Increasing self-expression

  • Increasing self-awareness

  • Increasing Attention/Executive Function

  • Increasing Speech/Communication

  • Increasing Academic Skills

  • Increasing Fine/Gross Motor

  • Increasing Social Skills

  • Increasing Musical Skills

Take a look a the following story of this client’s journey in music therapy. We’ve included why they are attending, what the client likes, what the parents like and what the therapist is working on during therapy.

Xerxes’ Story

Xerxes is a preverbal 10 years old client who attends music on a weekly basis. The initial reason for referral was because their parents saw they liked music, wanted a space to practice communication techniques and increasing speech production.

Xerxes loves coming to music because they get to play with scarves, guitars, drums and sings

Xerxes’ parents are enjoy music therapy sessions because it provides their child a time where he is actively engaged for the entire session, able to make choices/preferences while still following a structure/routine, and is able to work on speech, language and communication.

The music therapist’s goals include: Increasing self-expression, matching vowel sounds, increasing functional communication (simultaneously signing and vocalizing) and working on traditional conversation skills.

Every client has a similar yet drastically different experience at Prelude Music. Our background and training allows us to customize everything based on your needs, abilities and preferences. While therapeutic outcomes/benefits may vary, enjoyment, progress and success is a common thread our clients share.