Music therapy

Music therapy is an established health care practice that uses music-based practices to help improve your overall well-being. Medical music therapy can enhance your quality of life, increase self-awareness, and prevent or manage a range of physical and emotional symptoms through the use of live music and interactions with your music therapist.

Board-certified music therapists address physical, emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual needs of people of all ages. Music therapists use the characteristics and elements of music to:

  • Reduce pain, anxiety, agitation and stress.
  • Decrease confusion.
  • Improve communication, self-expression and coping skills.
  • Enhance quality of life and spiritual comfort.
  • Increase sense of control.
  • Provide socialization and stimulation.
  • Increase relaxation and overall wellness.
  • Elevate mood.
  • Improve perception of treatment.

A wide variety of music is utilized, depending on patient preference and needs, and no musical experience or background is necessary. Our repertoire includes country, rock, bluegrass, folk, musicals, gospel, jazz and more.

For more information on music therapy, visit The American Music Therapy Association’s Website at www.musictherapy.org.

What happens in a music therapy session?

Music therapy is typically provided in the patient’s room, where the music therapist may sing and play guitar or other instruments. Patients and families are encouraged to engage in music making, or they may choose to just listen. No musical experience is required to participate in music therapy.

Music therapist with patient

Music is provided as part of other therapy treatments or as a therapy treatment of its own. Music alone is the therapy in many instances, such as a hymn providing spiritual comfort, a favorite song as distraction from pain or when music is used to calm agitation. Other times, music is used within therapy, such as discussing song lyrics, reminiscing about memories elicited by songs or playing an instrument to enhance physical rehabilitation.

Common music therapy techniques include:

  • Lyric analysis
  • Songwriting
  • Instrument playing
  • Guided imagery/visualization
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Distraction
  • Counseling
  • Life review
For more information on UK HealthCare music therapy services, contact us at musictherapy@uky.edu.
Page last updated: 7/7/2017 10:07:22 AM