Music therapy is 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.
*Music Therapist Accredited
- Canadian Association of Music Therapists, www.musictherapy.ca
Music Therapy been researched and has been proven effective at a national and international level. Researchers are discovering that music therapy is capable of providing significant benefits as an effective therapeutic tool in a wide variety of clinical settings. Music therapy has already been investigated scientifically in a broad array of clinical settings in several medical fields including family medicine, pediatrics, nursing, cardiology, oncology, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, anesthesiology, neurology and psychiatry (Mattei & Rodriguez, 2013). The research has identified a several major benefits of participating in music therapy. Here are a few highlighted benefits:
Improves invasive procedures. Those who listened to music in the operating room reported less discomfort during their procedure. Hearing music in the recovery room lowered the use of opioid painkillers.
Restores lost speech. Music therapy can help people who are recovering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury that has damaged the left-brain region responsible for speech. Because singing ability originates in the right side of the brain, people can work around the injury to the left side of their brain by first singing their thoughts and then gradually dropping the melody.
Reduces side effects of cancer therapy. Listening to music reduces anxiety associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It can also quell nausea and vomiting for patients receiving chemotherapy.
Aids pain relief. Music therapy decreases pain perception, reduces the amount of pain medication needed, helps relieve depression, and gives people a sense of better control over their pain.
Improves quality of life for dementia patients. Because the ability to engage with music remains intact late into the disease process, music therapy can help to recall memories, reduce agitation, assist communication, and improve physical coordination.
The research about music therapy can be found a numerous peer-reviewed journals and there are a number of peer-reviewed journals dedicated to music therapy. The music therapy peer-reviewed journals include but not limited to:
Canadian Association for Music Therapy. (2014). What is music therapy? Retrieved from http://www.musictherapy.ca/en/information/music-therapy.html
Mattei, T. A., & Rodriguez, A. H. (2013). Music therapy as an adjuvant therapeutic tool in
medical practice: an evidence-based summary. OA Evidence-Based Medicine. 1(1):2.
Merz, B. (2015, November, 5). Healing through music [Web log post]. Retrieved from