Music Therapy – Music can help your mental health
Music Therapy Explained

Written by: Dr. Erin Li

What is music therapy?
Music Therapy is defined as follows:
-Music therapy is a research-based practice and profession in which music is used to actively support people as they strive to improve their health, functioning and wellbeing.
-Music therapy is the intentional use of music by a university trained professional who is registered with the Australian Music Therapy Association Inc. (AMTA) Registered music therapists (RMT) draw on an extensive body of research and are bound by a code of ethics that informs their practice.
-Music therapists incorporate a range of music making methods within and through a therapeutic relationship. They are employed in a variety of sectors including health, community, aged care, disability, early childhood, and private practice.  Music therapy is different from music education and entertainment as it focuses on health, functioning and wellbeing. (AMTA Website: https://www.austmta.org.au/content/what-music-therapy)
It can be concluded as using music to achieve non-musical goals, which includes physical (rehabilitation, movement, speech), cognitive (learning and applying), emotion (self-expression) and social (interaction, communication) goals.

What is the benefit for kids to attend early age music group?
Regarding to kids, music group can not only allow their better development of their brain, including motor, cognitive and learning skills, but also enable them to explore their emotional and social skills through interacting with peers during group activities. Music can also facilitate self expression and formulating self identity. Under a family circumstance, appropriate music therapy activities enable kids to acquire a sense of security and strengthen the parent-child bonding.

How to apply music therapy for kids and family (practice philosophy)?
Music therapy services will be provided under an eclectic theoretical framework including psychodynamic, behavioural, humanistic and ecological framework. Personally speaking, my practice philosophy is based on humanistic mainly but also embrace essences of other three frameworks. The application of framework will also depend on the client and their therapeutic goals to ensure an individualised service.

how to make individual/ group music therapy session fun? Are individual/ group music therapy sessions worth it? do individual/ group music therapy sessions work? are individual/ group music therapy sessions important? why take individual/ group music therapy sessions?

Currently there are rising needs for:
– Child development (cognitive, physical, social and emotional)
– Parent-child bonding
– Parenting skills
– Parent-child communication

Music activities includes:
– Singing
– Instrument playing
– Music making
– Music movement
– Music games
– Song writing
– Music itself is an entertainment while music therapy is more than just entertainment. In my session, lots of fun group music activities and games will be used to achieve the group goals. Kids can not only learn to sing a song or play an instrument, but also develop their logical thinking, speech, problem solving skills and learning skills. Most importantly, through all these fun activities, they learn how to communicate with their peers, how to express themselves. From parents’ perspective, through the parent-child bonding activity, they can get to know their kids more, as well as figuring out a way to express their affection and covey such information to their kids.

what age should early age music group start? how old should you start early age music group? can adults take music therapy session?
Music group is highly recommended from baby to pre-school aged kids and their parents. (from 0-5 years old)

Adult is also welcomed to individual/ group music therapy if needed.

how many music therapy sessions do i need before I can achieve my goal?

This depends on the individual’s situation and purpose for participating individual or group music therapy. Normally it will take 3-4 weekly sessions for assessment purpose. This will be followed by a therapeutic goal setting and a thorough session plan to address issues appeared during the assessment. A continuous evaluation will be conducted to review the therapeutic goals. The length of treatment sessions can be varied according to the individuals. Consulting with your RMT (Registered Music Therapist) is highly recommended before commencing any music therapy session.

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