Katurah Christenbury, Music Therapist
At the Harper School, we believe that music therapy is the art of music scientifically applied by a music therapist to meet the needs and promote the strengths of children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) defines music therapy as "the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program" (AMTA, www.musictherapy.org).
The key difference between music therapy and other therapies is the use of music and its components as the means to address non-musical goals. Goals can include motor skills and physical functioning, self-care skills, cognitive and intellectual abilities, speech and communication, socialization, mood, and spirituality.
Who can benefit from music therapy?
Music therapy can be beneficial for many people including:
• People who have mental health needs
• Children or adults with developmental disabilities
• Older adults who are diagnosed with dementias
• People with substance abuse problems
• People who have experienced brain injuries including stroke
• People with physical disabilities
• People at the end of life
• People with chronic illnesses
• People desiring support in their general wellness, e.g. team development or rehabilitation
Examples of music therapy services include: helping a child with cerebral palsy develop mobility; developing a method of communication through music for a child with severe developmental delays; using music to support the process of dying and to promote reconciliation of family members prior to death; developing and enhancing socialization skills for people in assisted living or nursing facilities; or stimulating the mental abilities of a person with a brain injury to improve communication or mobility.
A melody is not merely something you can hum.