Why do we need a Music Therapist?


It’s a great question, and one that we hear so often.

Can’t a volunteer provide these same services for free? Can’t a classroom teacher, whose salary is already in our budget, do the same thing that the music therapist is doing?

Hey guys, I get it. I’m a business owner, and sometimes it has to come down to the bottom line (even though we know that music therapy services can save your program money). But simply stated: just as a P.E. teacher cannot perform the duties of a physical therapist, a volunteer or classroom teacher cannot do the same thing as a music therapist. Here’s why:

  • In healthcare settings, Music Therapy (MT) is a prescribed clinical treatment option
  • In educational settings, Music Therapy is considered a related service under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Music Therapists are trained and qualified to assess the patient or client’s physical, emotional, educational, and/or spiritual needs
  • MT services are specifically designed to address a patient’s individual treatment plan or a client’s educational goals and objectives
  • Music Therapists complete and maintain clinical documentation after each session
  • Music Therapists have musical, clinical, psychological, and some medical education and training
  • All Music Therapists must complete a six-month clinical internship before graduating from their degree program
  • Music Therapists hold at least a bachelor’s degree in music therapy
  • Music Therapists must sit for and pass the national Board Certification exam to practice music therapy (MT-BC)
  • In Georgia, once board-certified, MTs must become licensed in the state (LPMT)
  • MT-BCs are required to complete 100 hours of continuing education every 5 years

Even if your program isn’t the same type as one listed here in the cost-savings overview, what if I told you that music therapy can add significant value to the services that your program already provides?

I was on the phone with one of our clients the other day, and she told me how valuable our services were for their private school for children with special needs …

“When parents send in their preschool program applications, they request to have their children in school on the same days that music therapy sessions are being held.”

“Families choose us because we offer music therapy through you.”

If you own or manage a program that offers services to children with special needs, or perhaps you provide services to hospice patients that are nearing the end of their lives, then chances are there are other companies surrounding you that offer that exact same services to the exact same potential clients/patients. So, you have to ask yourself, “What makes us stand out from the rest? What makes a family choose us over them? Why are we different?” 

This is a crucial time for healthcare facilities and special education programs. While music therapy is becoming more widely recognized as a healthcare profession, there are still plenty of people and places who have not yet heard of it or felt its effects firsthand. Owners and managers: this is your time. You can become more valuable by providing music therapy services to your clients. You should be one of the firsts in your area to include music therapy in the lists of services you provide. You should be the ones to introduce music therapy to your clients. You should be the ones to tell them how important music therapy is as a part of their treatment plan. You should be the ones to partner with clinically trained, nationally board-certified, and state-licensed music therapists.1mmtlogoresized