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Music and Your Mentality: The Music Therapy Process

Happy Monday! Welcome to the fifth blog post in our Music and Your Mentality series. Today, we will be covering common methods employed during traditional music therapy sessions.

Music therapy intervention methods can be divided into active and receptive techniques, where patients actively participate in the music making process and passively responding to music. Active techniques involve singing, composing, improvising, and playing musical instruments, Receptive techniques display themselves through listening to music, dancing, and analyzing lyrics. While music therapists can personalize their music therapy techniques utilized for each patient, they often combine active and receptive techniques together during treatment.


A music therapist also determines the timing of the music intervention, whether the therapy should be conducted individually or in groups, and the genre of music to be shared. These choices are made to be appropriate for the feelings, goals, and needs of each music therapy patient. For instance, therapists select songs with lyrics and melodies that match with the psychological state of their patients. This is known as the Iso principle, which states that music is more likely to have influence if it matches an individual's current condition.


Diving into specifics, group drumming circles are a popular method to foster a social connection among music therapy patients and provide a safe outlet for feelings and emotions. Patients are asked to improvise a rhythm on their drum to express how they feel and encourage relaxation. For patients who have difficulty communicating, music therapists only require singing words or short phrases to a simple melody to improve speech production and fluency. Similarly, patients who have impaired motor skills find that playing simple melodies on a piano or creating rhythms on the drums help them coordinate and enhance their movements.


Learn more about music therapy on our website here.


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