What is music therapy?

Everybody enjoys music whether it be classical, jazz or pop but how can it be used as therapy?

Music can be a powerful tool to overcome people’s disabilities, mental illness and trauma by enabling non-verbal communication, facilitating interaction, confidence and self esteem, and stimulate movement.

Music has the ability to aid communication , expression, resonate feelings, by exciting or calming, create a sense of joyfulness and poignancy all of which, when music is used as a therapy, can positively influence people both physically and psychologically.

Music has an affect on multiple conditions some of which are mentioned below.

  1. Depression – bringing on a more positive state of mind helping to relief stress and anxiety
  2. Autism  – helping children with social skills
  3. Promote movement especially in conditions such as Parkinson’s and in the elderly through rhythm and dance.
  4. Relax patients resulting in the of easing muscle tension and encouraging calmness.
  5. A fast beat causes stimulation of the brain waves encourage increased concentration.
  6. A slower beat instigates a calm mental state.
  7. As a result of music influencing mental state, breathing and heart rate can also be altered.

Research has shown music therapy to be beneficial for both psychological and  physical symptoms. A selection of articles have been included for further information.

Music therapy is provided by professional music therapists registered by the HCPC who work in social care , private practice, multi-disciplinary teams in health.


References and further information:

Gallagher LM, Lagman R, Rybicki L (2017) Outcomes of Music Therapy Interventions on Symptom Management in Palliative Medicine Patients. Pubmed. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28274132

Xu B, Sui Y, Zhu C, Yang X, Zhou J, Li L, Ren L, Wang X (2017) Musical Intervention on cognitive dysfunction in healthy older adults: a systemic review and meta-analysis. Pubmed. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28275872

Zhang Y, Cai J, An L, Hui F, Ren T, Ma H, Zhao Q. (2017).  Does Music Therapy enhance behavioral and cognitive function in elderly dementia patients ? a systemic review and meta-analysis. Pubmed. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28025173

LaGasse AB (2017) Social outcomes in children with autism spectrum disorder: a review of music therapy outcomes. Pubmed. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28260959

Miek J. de Dreu, Gert Kwakkel, Erwin E H Van Wegen (2015) . Partnered Dancing to improve mobility for people with Parkinon’s Disease. Pubmed. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4675848/



why music therapy is effective

British association for Music therapy