People's understanding of music therapy has come a long way since Chiltern started in 2011 but there is still work to be done. We are continually working to try and improve people's understanding of all that music therapy can do to support people of all ages and needs and we will continue to do so as best we can.
We asked our team members and our social media followers to share some of the misconceptions they have heard while doing their job and we wanted to share it as a helpful tool for anyone who wants to know about music therapy.
If you have more to add to the list, please contact us, and we'll add them in!
The people you work with require musical experience or talent
A music therapy client does not need to know anything about music to participate in/ benefit from music therapy. Music therapy is about accomplishing goals through the therapeutic medium of music, rather than utilising musical skills
“Did you have lots of fun today?”
It can be patronising and unhelpful to assume that a person has “had fun” during their time in music therapy, as sessions can be emotional and/or physically demanding. Music Therapists are trained to professionally support their clients through these challenges.
Music therapy is only for children
Music Therapists collaborate with people across the lifespan. At Chiltern Music Therapy we work with premature babies all the way through to end of life care, and everything in between!
There is one prescribed way of doing music therapy
Music therapy is adaptable and will be different for every person. Sessions are predominantly client led and are personalised to the needs and requirements of our clients.
A client can be referred because they enjoy music
A person is typically referred to music therapy to support emotional, communication, physical and/or cognitive goals. Whilst it is sometimes noted that our clients enjoy music, it cannot be a sole reason for referral.
One particular style of music is more therapeutic than all the rest
All styles of music can be useful. A person’s preferences, circumstances and need for treatment, and the client’s goals help to determine the types of music a Music Yherapist may use.
Anyone can do music therapy by listening to music
Music is therapeutic with or without a music therapist present, however, not just anyone can play or use music and call it music therapy. It is only music therapy when provided by a board-certified Music Therapist. Music Therapists go through rigorous training to provide high quality services to their clients, both musically and therapeutically.
Music therapy is just a sing-along
A Music Therapist’s voice is an accessible, versatile and helpful tool, and music therapy may involve the singing of songs. However, it is important to note that Music Therapists plan, design, and implement musical interventions, such as therapeutic singing, to address specific non-musical goals. Some examples include improving speech fluency, developing emotional expression and supporting breath control.
Music Therapists teach music
Music therapy and music teaching are two entirely different professions. A music teacher works to improve a person’s musical skill, whereas a music therapist uses music to work on a person’s non-musical goals.