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The generally held opinion that music is therapeutic leads to some confusion about the profession of Music Therapy. As with all the arts, music and musical activity is delivered in many ways by many different types of practitioners to improve the lives of people. So where does Music Therapy stand in all of this?  Below I have tried to answer the main questions I get asked with regard to being a Music Therapist. 

  • Do you need to play an instrument to access Music Therapy?
    No. There is no need for any previous musical experience at all to access Music Therapy. In fact, very often the less you know about music and music theory, the more free you can feel to explore and express yourself without your previous learnings constricting you.
  • Do I need to be "into" music to access Music Therapy?"
    Not at all. Whilst an exisiting interest in music is very often the impetus for begining Music Therapy, it is by no means a requirement at all. Many people may miss out on the expressive therapeutic experience of Music Therapy because they beleive there are not "into" music. Music Therapy holds the view that human beings are inately musical and therefore any person can access music. Very often our own lack of confidence or personal experiences may of disconnected us from our musicality. Music Therapy can offer the chance to reconnect with that.
  • Do I need to bring my own instruments to Music Therapy?
    No. All instruments required are provided by the Music Therapist as part of the service. If you are a school or institution with musical resources then these may be of use to the therapy but this must be discussed with the therapist and arranged accordingly. If a client wishes to bring their own instrument this again must be discussed with the therapist prior to the session.
  • Do I need to be able to play and instrument to have Music Therapy?
    Not at all. No previous musical experience is required. Music Therapy is accessible to anyone regardless of musical background or knowledge. The Music Therapist will facilitate the musical activity sensitively and appropriately to each client.
  • Can Music Technology be used in Music Therapy?
    Yes. Some clients may find Music Technology a comfortable and engaging way to access music. This could be using laptops or tablets or even recording equipment to make tracks and songs. This can be discussed with therapist and provisions made if it considered helpful to the therapy.
  • Where does Music Therapy take place?
    Sessions can take place in any private and safe space. If you are a school or an instituion and can provide a space for the sessions then the space must be suitable for therapuetic work i.e private and undisturbed for the duration of the sessions. If you do not have access to a suitbable space then a space can be sourced local to the Derbyshire area at an additional cost. Please get in touch to discuss.
  • I know a music based creative pracitioner, aren't they a Music Therapist?"
    No. Music Therapy is clinical intervention governed by the Health & Care Professions Council. The title "Music Therapist" is a legally protected professional title in the UK and can only be used by qualified and registered therapists who have completed masters level training. Anyone offering music based "therapy" in their marketing material without being a qualified Music Therapist may be breaking the law. See the Health & Care Professions Council's guidance on this here: Creative practioners and workshop faciliators who work with music are known as Community Musicians and generally work towards musical, creative or educational aims and outputs. A Music Therapist uses music to work towards non musical, clinical psychological aims.
  • What about Musicians in Health Care, are they Music Therapists?"
    No. Many health care settings will employ Community Musicians to help with general well being and provide recreational activity or entertainment. Whilst this could be seen as therapeutic it is not pyschodynamic work and the musicians are not qualified to work with clinical populations. A qualified Music Therapist is a clinician and can carry out professional relational work as part of a persons health care. Many Music Therapists will work in both fields as this can help identifiy patients or clients who would benifit from being referred into clinical Music Therapy. Musicians working in healthcare must be clear on the dinstinction between the two roles to avoid legal difficulties. See
  • What about Sound Therapy? or Drum Therapy? Isn't that Music Therapy?
    No. Many musical practioners will be aware of the mental health and well being benifits of their work and may choose to use the word "therapy" in their marketing. A sound therapist or a drum therapist has not completed a masters degree or similar level of training and cannot register with Health & Care Professions Council and therefore is offering a very different level of service. Using the words "music" and "therapy" in the marketing of these services may be breaking the law. See
  • How much does a Music Therapy sessions cost?
    Music Therapy costs around the same as any other form of professional psychotherapy. As an Arts based therapy there can be additional expeneses related to equipment and setup time. As Music Therapy is often delivered in an out reach service, travel time and costs may also be factored in. For this reason each peice of work may be costed differently so please get in touch to discuss your circumstances so a fee can be worked out.
  • Does Music Therapy have a professional regulator or governing body?
    Yes. The professional regulator is The Health & care Professions Council, who also oversee health care roles such as paramedics, physiotherapists, dieticians and clinical scientists. The standards of proficiency relevent to Music Therapists can be found here The professiona body in the United Kingdom is The British Association for Music Therapy
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