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What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is an established complementary health care profession that uses music to increase or maintain quality of life by producing predictable, positive changes in the brain and body. Both live and recorded music are used to facilitate therapeutic interventions such as adapted music creation, music-aided learning strategies, music-facilitated relaxation techniques, sensory and cognitive stimulation, movement to music, and music-guided reminiscence and discussion. Although the music makes the therapeutic experience enjoyable, most sessions focus on achieving non-musical goals that improve intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and physiological areas of function.

Highly trained and nationally certified music therapists utilize the inherent characteristics of music to address the needs of each individual, creating a unique treatment experience. Music therapy is not limited to those with musical talent or experience, nor is it restricted to a single musical genre.

The effectiveness of music therapy is due to music's ability to stimulate specific areas of the brain, which then triggers reactions throughout the entire system. Music accesses the functional, "musical" regions of the brain that compensate for damaged ones while the brain builds new neural pathways to bypass the damaged areas. As a result, music therapy is often beneficial for people who are affected by cognitive or neurological impairments, even when they are unresponsive or resistant to other treatment approaches.

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