The Benefits of Music Therapy (cont.)

Listening to music can cause the brain to release less cortisol (a stress hormone) and more endorphins, which are attributed to feelings of happiness.

According to, music is used in hospitals to alleviate pain in conjunction with anesthesia or pain medication. It’s also used to elevate mood, counteract depression, and to promote movement for physical rehabilitation. Music has a calming effect and is often used to induce sleep. It can counteract apprehension or fear, and diminishes muscle tension for relaxation.

In nursing homes, music is used to increase or maintain the elderly’s level of physical, mental, and social/emotional functioning. In schools, music therapists are often employed to provide services listed on the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for mainstreamed special learners. Music learning is used to strengthen communication skills and physical coordination skills.

In psychiatric facilities, music therapy allows patients to explore personal feelings, make positive changes in mood and emotional states, have a sense of control through cultivating successful experiences, practicing problem solving, and resolving conflicts leading to stronger family and peer relationships.

To become a professional music therapist, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher in music therapy. Beyond the academic coursework, the bachelor’s degree requires 1200 hours of clinical training, including a supervised internship. Graduate degrees in Music Therapy focus on advanced clinical practice and research. Upon completion of the bachelor’s degree, music therapists are eligible to take the national board certification exam to obtain the credential MT-BC (Music Therapist - Board Certified) which is necessary for professional practice.