Frequently Asked Questions

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What Is Music Therapy and how does it work?

Music therapy is a well-established, research-based profession in which music is used in the accomplishment of therapeutic and educational goals. Music therapy is used to improve cognitive, social, physical, psychological, or communication functioning. It can improve the quality of life for individuals who are well, and enhance well-being in children and adults with disabilities or illnesses.

Is there a governing body or certification for Music Therapy?

There are two organizations that oversee and support the professional practice of music therapy. The American Music Therapy Association is the professional organization, offering oversight of professional standards and the code of ethics. The Certification Board for Music Therapists is the accrediting organization for the music therapy profession. Music therapist credentials and training are as follows:

  • Education – A degree in music therapy from an academic program approved by the American Music Therapy Association
  • Internship – Successful completion of a 900-hour internship under the supervision of a qualified music therapist
  • Credential – Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) which requires successful completion of comprehensive exam and continuing music therapy education credits
  • Skills
    • Proficiency in piano, voice, and guitar
    • Knowledgeable in music theory and composition
    • Clinical knowledge of special populations
    • Training in assessment, treatment planning and evaluation
    • Fluent in major theories and models of therapy

Where do the Music Therapy sessions take place?

Our music therapists provide services throughout Eastern Massachusetts in a variety of settings including private homes and at our Wakefield center.

For children, we offer music therapy in private and public schools, community centers, libraries and within recreation programs. Specifically for young children, music therapy sessions can take place in daycare centers, preschools, nursery schools or within Early Intervention programs.

Our music therapy services can be provided for children or adults with disabilities, in residential facilities, group homes and various other day program locations in Eastern Massachusetts. We also provide services in private homes and residences or at our Wakefield Center.

To meet the needs of older adults, music therapy sessions can take place at home, senior centers, independent or assisted living communities, through hospital, rehab or hospice programs, and at various other day and residential facilities for seniors.

Does one-on-one music therapy offer the same socialization benefits as group therapy?

In individual music therapy, the client (child, adult or senior) engages in focused music-making directly with the music therapist, offering one-on-one interaction while promoting exploration, discovery and growth. Therapeutic goals related to communication, expression, socialization or understanding are agreed upon by the parent or caregiver, the music therapist and the child or adult, if possible. Individual music therapy can take place at the client’s home or residence or at our Wakefield center. As individual and group music therapy offer different socialization benefits, we would be happy to talk with you to help determine which type would be best address your needs.

Can Music Therapy be included on my child’s IEP?

Yes, music therapy is an approved related service which can be included in a student’s IEP when it is found to be necessary to benefit from his or her educational plan.

When music therapy is provided as a direct related service, it must follow the same guidelines as other therapies, such as physical therapy or occupational therapy. The need for a related service is determined by an assessment conducted by a qualified professional, a Board Certified Music Therapist, and can then be considered by the IEP team for inclusion in a student’s IEP. As with other related services, music therapy is recommended as a related service only if it is necessary for the child to benefit from his individual education program. A formal music therapy assessment can be requested by any member of the team.

To learn more about how music therapy can be included on your child’s IEP, review our resource page: “Music Therapy as an IEP Related Service.”

What is the role for music therapy in day or residential programs for children?

Forward-thinking and progressive organizations create exceptional care environments with creative programming including music therapy. Our seasoned Board Certified Music Therapists have worked within a variety of settings including childcare care centers, preschools, group homes and residential programs supporting children with various disabilities. We work with companies and networks supporting children (including those with special needs) to develop unique programming appropriate for their setting and situation. We offer community facilities creative solutions to enrich programming and supports for your clients.

Can you organize music-making birthday parties?

Birthday celebrations have included music throughout the ages. A music-making birthday party facilitated by a Board Certified Music Therapist can create a fun-filled, inclusive event for children, teens or adults. Our music making birthday parties are not a spectator musical performance; rather, our parties offer a transformative participatory experience where the guests make music individually and together.

While seniors often balk at the notion of gifts, celebrating them as individuals is a beautiful way to commemorate a milestone birthday. We’ll bring the musical celebration to your loved one’s home or residence, with instruments and favorite old-time melodies, creating a joyous and meaningful event.

Do you offer music therapy services in hospitals, rehab facilities or nursing homes?

Absolutely. Music enhances quality of life, improving emotional well-being and facilitating rehabilitation for children or adults recovering from illness or injury. The socialization offered through group music therapy can have a transformative effect, improving wellness and reducing the isolation and stress of hospitalization or rehab stays. Whether the focus is recovery, stabilization following an injury or event, or long-term care or hospice, we work within a variety of residential and institutional care facilities to provide support, comfort and socialization.

Is music therapy used in hospice or within palliative care?

Whether at home or within a care environment music therapy can provide comfort and solace to individuals receiving hospice care. Focusing on “in the moment” music making, the patient can experience reduced pain and anxiety and relieved symptoms. Music therapists are skilled at adapting the music experiences to the capability of the participants. For individuals restricted to bed, one-on-one therapy may be provided; group music therapy options are available for individuals who will benefit from the shared experience. When possible, family members or other caregivers should be included as well. Music therapists can also provide assistance to family and caregivers with coping, communication, and bereavement. (more)

Is music beneficial for individuals with dementia?

Seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia have been benefiting from music therapy services for a long time. Music not only encourages movement and socialization, but also can create clarity, enable verbal and nonverbal communication, reduce agitation and improve memory recall. Because rhythmic responses require minimal (if any) cognitive processing, “music can spark compelling outcomes even in the very late stages of the disease.” (Alzheimer’s Association)

Does music enhance the quality of life for seniors without memory impairments?

Music making has therapeutic benefits for young and old. Through participation with the Music Therapist and peers in an uplifting activity, individuals increase physical movement, reduce isolation, and engage with others socially. We work with companies and networks supporting seniors in a variety of settings including senior centers, senior living communities, assisted living facilities and long term care residences. Our music therapists are skilled at including everyone in the sessions, adapting music experiences and helping all group members participate to their greatest potential. The shared experience brings communities together.

Can music therapy help veterans and their families?

Music therapy can be a valuable part of a treatment plan for post-combat veterans and their families. Interventions support a service member’s recovery in a variety of ways, including improved coping skills, relief from pain perception, and reduced stress associated with traumatic experiences. Military families can also benefit from therapeutic activities that restore trust, rebuild bonds, and reduce the anxiety resulting from the deployment of a family member.

Do you offer volunteer opportunities in Music Therapy for high school students?

Yes! We receive many requests from students interested in learning more about music therapy. If you are a high school student in the Eastern Massachusetts area, please consider volunteering to help support our music therapists in our programs for children with special needs. It is a great way to learn more about the field, meet current music therapists, and get some real life experience. Many of the music therapists on our team first experienced music therapy by volunteering and shadowing a professional music therapist!

Do you offer a Music Therapy internship for college students majoring in Music Therapy?

Roman Music Therapy Services offers music therapy students a rich and gratifying clinical and educational experience to support your growth as a music therapist. Our music therapy internship Is being submitted to the AMTA Association Internship Approval Committee to be included in the national roster internship list. Please contact us to learn more about our internship opportunities.

How do I learn more about a career in Music Therapy?

A career in music therapy offers challenge, opportunity, and distinctive rewards and an opportunity to work with people of all ages with various disabilities. Music therapists are employed in many different settings including general and psychiatric hospitals, community mental health agencies, rehabilitation centers, day care facilities, nursing homes, schools and private practice. While in some cases music therapy is utilized to provide comfort, such as within hospice or recuperative care situations or for women in childbirth, it is also used to enable communication with individuals with various disabilities, promote overall development of young children, and to enhance general wellness and health.

Music therapists provide services for adults and children with psychiatric disorders, cognitive and developmental disabilities, speech and hearing impairments, physical disabilities, and neurological impairments, among others. Music therapists can serve as members of an interdisciplinary team supporting the goals and objectives for each client in many contexts and settings. We invite you to volunteer or shadow a music therapist for a day to get a sense of the day to day experience. Learn more.