Music Therapy as an IEP Related Service

Music Therapy is considered a Related Service within IDEA, similar to occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech and language therapy. Increasingly, school districts are realizing the value of music therapy services and are providing individuals with music therapy as a related service.

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 Committee for Special Education 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. The Music Therapy Evaluation conducted by Roman Music Therapy Services follows the SEMTAP (Special Education Music Therapy Assessment Process), a nationally recognized and published evaluation format by Prelude Music Therapy in Texas.

It consists of the following elements:

  • A formal request for a music therapy assessment from a parent or other member of the IEP team
  • A review of the child’s IEP including goals and objectives
  • Interviews/consultation with the child’s teacher and other members of the IEP team
  • An observation of the child performing IEP goals in non-musical settings (groups and/or individual as appropriate)
  • Administration of a specially designed music therapy assessment session focusing on the same targeted IEP goals
  • Presentation of a comprehensive report at an IEP team meeting with the Music Therapist

Service recommendations may include direct service, consultation in the classroom, or consultation with special educators or other school staff members. If the team decides to add music therapy as a related service, goals and objectives specified in the report would be added to the student’s IEP.

Music therapy has been a profession for over 50 years and enjoys growing acceptance as an efficient, effective therapy for children with special needs. An increasing number of school districts are providing music therapy to children on both the pre-school and school aged levels and seeing the benefits that therapeutic music interventions can bring to students of all ages and levels.


The SEMTAP Special Education Music Therapy Assessment Process Handbook, 2nd Edition (2003) by Kathleen Coleman & Betsey King Brunk, published by Prelude Music Therapy, (817) 481-2323
Beth Schwartz, LCAT, MT-BC

To learn more about how music therapy can be included in your child’s IEP explore the resources below.

Consider whether or not your child would qualify for music therapy based on this checklist: Determining the Appropriateness of a Music Therapy Assessment (need to update document, link to pdf)

Read the Letter from the Department of Education which states that music therapy is an approved related service and is included within IDEA. (link to pdf)