Music Therapy is the use of evidence-based music interventions to accomplish individualized nonmusical goals. Through lyric analysis, drumming, song writing, imagery, and relaxation, music therapy helps clients promote wellness, manage stress, express feelings, improve communication, and gain self-confidence.
What is Music Therapy?
The goal of music therapy is to help individuals develop skills for effective coping, strengthen relationships, and address issues they may not be able to address using words alone. Music therapy sessions include the use of active music making, music and song listening, discussion, song-writing, improvisation, and meditation. Music selections and certain active music making activities are modified according to client preferences and individualized needs. Each music therapy session is different, depending on the needs of the clients at the time. HopeWay provides a variety of instruments that are utilized throughout group and individual sessions.
The Music Therapist will assess clients during each session, and change or modify goals as needed. She often plays live versions of songs with therapeutic lyrics to promote active discussion of common themes in treatment. She then expands on those songs with “piggyback” song-writing or various other activities. Meditations with live guitar are done at least once a week in each program with a specific focus on shared theme of the group for that day.
The music therapy room is a safe space for clients to experiment with instruments they may have never used before, as well as improving skills with instruments that they have experience with but may not have shared with others.
Benefits of Music Therapy
"How many of us have heard a song come on the radio and felt a connection to the artist because they put into music exactly what we are going through? I think most of us can relate to this. Music is the universal language, and whatever your musical preference is, we can use music to take us to a place where we don’t feel alone.
While we do have fun listening to some of our favorite songs, music is used as a very effective therapeutic tool. Music elicits so many emotions that may otherwise build up inside our body and cause anxiety, anger or sadness, etc. to fester. Letting music be an outlet of release, teaches our clients healthy ways to cope with their strong emotions. Music helps us to feel connected to one another, as well as become more aware of ourselves. No matter how talented you are musically, everyone can benefit from music therapy sessions by learning a mindful way to connect.
Whether singing along, discussing the lyrics, shaking a maraca, or playing a melody on the piano, every client connects to the music in their own way and leaves Hopeway with, at the very least, a knowledge of how music effects our inner being and can be used effectively. Every therapeutic group at Hopeway receives group music therapy twice a week. While most sessions are group based, individual sessions are available by request. A variety of instruments are used to foster hope, increase self-esteem, emotional regulation, self-awareness, self-expression, and manage anger. When clients leave Hopeway, they will have a greater understanding of how to use music in a mindful and therapeutic way."
- Joan Kleinmann, Music Therapist