Music Therapy

Music therapy is an evidence-based and goal-directed process that uses musical interventions to address non-musical needs and improve functioning in areas such as cognition, attention, communication, motor skills, social skills, and improve mental and emotional health. Assessments are completed to determine a client’s needs and challenges, in addition to identifying a client's strengths and preferences. Specific musical interventions are developed and implemented by a credentialed therapist to achieve those non-musical goals in order to strengthen functional abilities and increase quality of life.

Music therapy offers a unique approach to treatment as music stimulates all areas of the brain simultaneously, and is in fact the only sensory experience to do so. Music not only activates the brain, but can also facilitate the development of new neural strategies and change neural impulse patterning. Music's effect on the brain helps to prompt engagement and higher attention to task, provides important cues for cognitive exercises and memory recall, and also helps to regulate movement and motor function. The emotional effect of music draws people in and enables therapists to truly connect with clients and reach them on a personal level, making it an ideal approach. Music-based interventions are easily adaptable and since they are driven by personal preference, they feel less clinical, are very enjoyable, and subsequently can be highly motivational. Additionally, as research continues to be done on the many applications of music therapy, it continues to support the use of music to treat non-musical challenges.

Music therapy is used to achieve a wide range of goal areas, which vary based on client need and desired functional outcomes, in addition to varying with age and diagnosis. Goal areas and specific objectives are established on an individualized basis and are based on a functional assessment of a client's needs, abilities, and preferences. Goal areas include expressive and receptive communication skills, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, social skills, cognition, memory, attention and joint attention skills, academic and pre-academic skills, fine and gross motor skills, self-expression, emotional expression and understanding, emotional and spiritual support, and overall well-being.

Music therapy, much like any other therapy, starts with an assessment to best understand where a client is at in the current moment and where he or she wants or needs to be in order to live life more fully. After the initial assessment is completed, a formal treatment plan with long-term goals and short-term objectives is adopted. Progress is documented after each session and treatment plans are updated every 3-6 months. Individualized music-based interventions are used throughout each session to both best meet the client’s needs in the moment and to improve functional skills and the quality of everyday life on an on-going basis.

Individuals with the nationally-recognized credential, MT-BC (music therapist, board-certified), are qualified to provide music therapy services. In order to become credentialed, music therapists complete an approved four-year degree program followed by a six to nine month internship, and then must pass the board examination. Music therapists must be re-certified every five years. To learn more or to verify a music therapist’s credentials go to

Some insurance policies may cover music therapy services, which are billed using standardized CPT® (Current Procedural Terminology) codes. However, every insurance company and every policy is different. Here at North Austin Music Therapy we do not bill insurance directly, but do provide the needed paperwork to enable clients to seek insurance reimbursement on their own. Please contact Meredith Hamons for more information.

North Austin Music Therapy offers a free initial consultation session to help you determine if pursuing music therapy services is the right choice. Initial consultations are a chance to meet with a therapist to discuss goals and current challenges and also to give your loved one a chance to enjoy engaging in music with one of our therapists, before a formal assessment is started. Initial consultations are a great way to see first-hand the benefits of music therapy and to determine if it is the right fit for you and/or your loved one. You can contact North Austin Music Therapy anytime to schedule an appointment.

Feel free to contact North Austin Music Therapy directly for more information about the benefits of music therapy and how it specifically could support you and/or your loved one. You can also check out the American Music Therapy Association for additional information and resources related to the field and practice of music therapy.