Music Therapy is an established healthcare profession and complementary treatment modality. Music Therapists utilize music and the patient/therapist relationship to promote healing and enhance quality of life. When combined with other medical treatments, it can help patients cope mentally and physically with their illness.

How can Music Therapy help patients?

From the moment of conception, we are exposed to and respond to music, whether it be physiologically (heart rate, respiratory rate), behaviorally (tapping toes, dancing), emotionally (feelings, memories), socially (interaction with others), or spiritually (connection with a higher power). It is this mind-body connection that makes music therapy such a valuable technique with medical patients.

What education do music therapists have?

Music therapists must complete a four year degree at an American Music Therapy Association-approved college, followed by a six month internship supervised by a practicing music therapist. After completion of coursework and internship, the national board certification exam must be passed in order to practice music therapy. Qualified music therapists have the MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified) credentials after their name.

What does a typical music therapy session involve?

Each music therapy session is unique and is designed particularly for the individual. A session always begins with a brief assessment of the patient’s strengths, needs, musical preferences, cultural background, and spiritual beliefs. Music Therapy sessions may involve creating, improvising, listening to, and/or performing music, depending on the patient’s objectives.

Music Therapy Internship Information

Music Therapy in a Medical Setting:

Research has shown that music therapy...

  • Can improve respiration, lower blood pressure, and reduce heart rate.
  • Relax muscle tension
  • Allow for a significant effect on pain, decreasing pain perception and dependence on pain medication
  • Increase immunologic function
  • Facilitate emotional self-expression and provide a supportive environment with opportunities to confront fears and discuss concerns
  • Lessen feelings of isolation and loneliness by providing the opportunity for social interaction and sharing
  • Provide motivation for physical activity
  • Enhance feelings of well-being
  • Assist individuals in preserving a sense of independence while retaining a sense of control of his or her life
  • Provide opportunities for choice and decision making
  • Help reaffirm one’s faith and facilitate hope
  • Result in increased weight gain in neonates, decreased length of stay, and fewer infant stress responses

Music Therapy at Trident Hospital

Trident Medical Center offers Music Therapy services to all units of the hospital, forty hours per week. To learn more about Music Therapy at TMC, Claire Littlejohn, NICU-MT, MT-BC may be reached during regular business hours at (843) 847-4134, to answer your questions.

For more information about music therapy, please visit the American Music Therapy Association.