Music Therapy is the assessment-driven and evidence-based use of music to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Music therapy addresses the emotional, social, cognitive, physical, and spiritual needs of an individual, and can also benefit family members, friends and support staff. Music Therapy does not claim to cure or to prolong life in the medical sense, but rather seeks to develop the potential of the individual and to improve the quality of human life. When individualized music experiences are designed by a professionally trained music therapist to fit functional abilities and needs, responses may be immediate and readily apparent. Participants without a music background can benefit from music therapy.
Research has shown that music therapy interventions can:
- Elevate mood and improve affect
- Facilitate positive reminiscence and satisfaction with life
- Provide a sense of control over life through successful experiences
- Increase awareness of self and environment which accompanies increased attention to music
- Reduce anxiety and stress
- Provide stimulation which provokes interest even when no other approach is effective
- Give structure, which promotes rhythmic and continuous movement or vocal fluency as an adjunct to physical rehabilitation.
- Offer opportunities to interact socially with others
- Facilitate an outlet for emotional expression
- Strengthen self-esteem
- Encourage healthy communication
- Maintain a client’s control as an individual by encouraging choices and decision-making
- Provide diversion and meaningful use of time
- Explore spiritual values
- Maintain and strengthen family bonds
- Provide respite for care-givers
 American Music Therapy Association. 2006. Music Therapy and Alzheimer’s Disease. Silver Spring, MD: Author.