Skip to main content
close menu
close menu

Search UK HealthCare

Music Therapy

A patient and her family participate in music therapy.

Music therapy is a healthcare 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. Our board-certified music therapists address physical, emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual needs of people of all ages.

We use a wide variety of music depending on our patients’ preference and needs. No musical experience or background is necessary to participate in a music therapy session. Our repertoire includes country, rock, bluegrass, folk, musicals, gospel, jazz and more.

  • What are the benefits of music therapy?

    Music therapists use the characteristics and elements of music to reduce your pain, anxiety, agitation and stress; decrease any confusion you might have; improve your communication, self-expression and coping skills; enhance your quality of life and spiritual comfort; increase your sense of control; provide socialization and stimulation; increase your relaxation and overall wellness; elevate your mood; and improve your perception of treatment.

    For more information on music therapy please see the website of the American Music Therapy Association at www.musictherapy.org.

  • What happens during a music therapy session?

    Music therapy sessions typically occur in your room, where the music therapist may sing and play guitar or other instruments.

    You and your family are encouraged to engage in music making, or you may choose to just listen. No musical experience is required to participate in music therapy. 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; playing instruments; guided imagery or visualization; progressive muscle relaxation; distraction; counseling; and life review.

  • Meet us

    Cheryl Benze, MME, MT-BC, Creative Arts Clinical Coordinator

    Cheryl is a board certified music therapist with degrees in Music therapy and Psychology. In addition, she has completed advance training in Neurological Music Therapy, Bonny Method Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Level 1 and NICU Music Therapy.

    An experienced clinician, Cheryl has provided music therapy to a wide variety of populations from early intervention to hospice. Her experience includes work with Duke University Medical Center Heart and Cancer Centers, Duke Hospice, Habersham Medical Center, and Warren Memorial Hospital. Cheryl has presented in workshops for music therapy conferences, professional and medical organizations, caregiver and community organizations. She served as President of the Southeast Region of the American Music Therapy Association and currently sits on the AMTA  Assembly of Delegates.

    Jennifer Jarred Peyton, MM, MT-BC

    Jennifer is a board certified music therapist who has been practicing since 2003. Most recently providing services to Markey Cancer Center, Jennifer has worked in medical, hospice, rehabilitation, and psychiatric settings. She regularly presents at national and regional conferences and is a published researcher in the field.

    Amelia Ehmling, MM, MT-BC, NICU-MT

    Amelia is a board certified music therapist who service the Kentucky Children’s Hospital, including the NICU, PICU, and NACU. Originally from Nashville, TN, she received her Bachelor of Music Therapy degree at the University of Louisville and her Master’s in music therapy at UK. She completed her internship at UKHealthCare. 

    Sarah Timmons, MM, MT-BC

    Sarah Timmons, MM, MT-BC, NICU-MT is the PRN music therapist at UK HealthCare. She is also an independent contractor doing music therapy throughout the Lexington community, working with older adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and children with special needs. She received both her bachelor’s degree in music education and a Master of Music in music therapy from the University of Kentucky.

    Emma Powers, MT-BC

    Emma is also a PRN music therapist at UK HealthCare. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Louisville, completed her internship at UK HealthCare, and is in the process of earning her Master’s degree in Music Therapy from UK.