What is Music Therapy?

The American Music Therapy Association defines music therapy as the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Our team of board-certified music therapists are person-centered, evidence-based and goal oriented in our approach. 

History of Music Therapy

Music Therapy has been a well established allied health profession since 1950. However, the idea of music as a healing influence which could affect health and behavior is at least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. The first degree program in the world was founded at Michigan State University in 1944 and the demand for research grew.  The Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) was incorporated in 1983 to strengthen the credibility of our profession by assuring the competency of credentialed music therapists followed by the establishment of our music therapy association, AMTA (The American Music Therapy Association) in 1998.

What are the Benefits?

Clinical research in music therapy supports many health benefits including:

  • Improve communication
  • Reduce pain, anxiety, and stress
  • Promote wellness
  • Improve attention
  • Enhance memory
  • Promote physical rehabilitation
  • Improve emotional expression
  • Improve mental health

Is Music Therapy Effective?

Yes! Music in and of itself is healing. Think of all the ways we use music in our lives. Music connects us on holidays and important life events. Music motivates us to exercise and dance. Music unites us around common causes. Music relaxes and calms us. Music provides an outlet to express our deepest emotions.

Now, pair all those qualities of music with one of our board-certified music therapists and you get something really special. Our team is trained to tap into the healing properties of music to effect change. We are skilled at using your music interests and preferences to bring you peace, hope, growth, reprieve, and much more when you need it most and oftentimes when nothing else can.

What Can Music Therapy Help With?

We believe that the therapeutic qualities of music are universal. Our board-certified music therapists work with people of all abilities, ages, genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, and belief systems. Here are some examples of what it can help with:

  • We work with older adults to lessen the effects of dementia and memory loss.
  • We work with children with Autism to address sensory processing.
  • We work with hospice patients to support death and dying with dignity.
  • We work with teens with developmental disabilities to improve social skills.
  • We work with young children to address literacy development.
  • We work with seniors with Parkinson’s disease to improve motor functioning.
  • We work with parents to provide outlets for self-care and wellness.

What Does A Music Therapy Session Look Like?

We customize our sessions to each client and group we work with.  We believe the key to a successful session is to set the environment for success by building a relationship of trust, respect, and self-worth.

Music therapy sessions with children and teens may look like a music lesson with a variety of instruments including piano, guitar and percussion instruments.  The difference is that the outcome is to address the needs of the child or teen with expertly designed music experiences that engage, teach, foster growth, motivate and bring about desired behaviors.

A music therapy session with children and teens may include:

  • A hello song to signify the start of the session and encourage communication
  • A visual schedule to provide predictability and offer choice and control
  • Preferred music, original songs, age-appropriate songs
  • Following color-coded patterns on a drum
  • LIVE music so that we can adjust tempo, key, instruments to meet our client’s needs in the moment

Music Therapy sessions with seniors typically take on a group format to foster connection, minimize isolation and maximize participation. Our sessions are designed to engage older adults cognitively, physically and emotionally by including them in the music-making process not merely entertaining them or just listening to music.

A music therapy session with seniors in nursing homes may include:

  • Culturally appropriate and age-appropriate songs
  • LIVE and recorded music to engage reminiscence and memory sharing
  • Musical themes that foster orientation to the calendar
  • On the spot songwriting that engages older adults cognitively
  • Errorless music instruments like Q-chord and pentatonic xylophone that require no music training

Music Therapy Services at The Groovy Garfoose


We are Person-Centered.

We believe in our clients by meeting them where they are with compassion and creativity. Building strong relationships with our clients and their families is what sets us apart.

We are Evidence-Based.

Our team stays up to date on the latest research in our field and beyond in order to bring our BEST to each client we serve. In addition, our team participates in continuing education to maintain our board certification through the Certification Board for Music Therapists.

We are Goal-Oriented.

After an assessment, we work with you to create a treatment plan to address specific and detailed objectives to address the cognitive, motor, communication, emotional, social and spiritual needs of each client we serve.

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Learn more about how music therapy can help!