Music is an ancient tool of healing that was recognized in the writings of Pythagoras, Aristotle and Plato.
The modern discipline of music therapy began early in the 20th Century with community musicians visiting veterans' hospitals around the country to play for those suffering from the traumas of war. Patients' responses led to the hiring of musicians by hospitals.
Music is used to influence physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being, and improve quality of life for healthy people, as well as those who are disabled or ill. It may involve either listening to or performing music, with or without the presence of a music therapist.
Music therapists are professionally trained to design specialized applications of music according to an individual's needs using improvisation, receptive listening, song writing, lyric discussion, imagery, performance or learning through music.
Sessions can be designed for individuals or groups based on the specific needs of the participants. Infants, children, adolescents, adults, the elderly and even animals can all potentially benefit from music therapy.
Music therapists work in psychiatric hospitals, prisons, rehabilitative facilities, medical hospitals, outpatient clinics, day treatment centers, agencies serving developmentally disabled persons, community mental health centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior centers, nursing homes, hospice programs, correctional facilities, halfway houses, schools and private practice.
Active music listening, active music therapy, auditory integration training, Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music, "brain music" treatment, calming music therapy, contingent music, creative arts therapy, dinner music intervention, evocative music, expressive therapy, group chanting and singing, group drumming, Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), improvisational music therapy, interactive music therapy, instructional music therapy, karaoke therapy, lullaby therapy, lyric analysis, mandalas, Medical Resonance Therapy Music (MRT-Music), musical games, musical motor feedback (MMF), music-assisted progressive muscle relaxation, music-assisted reframing, music-based exercise, music-based imagery, music-based intervention, music and movement, music and sign language, music therapy, music exposure therapy, music intervention, music in therapy, MT, musicokinetic therapy, music-reinforced therapy, music-video therapy, recreational music-making (RMM), relaxation music, rhythmic training, self-selected music therapy, soothing music therapy, Therapeutic Application of a Musically Modulated Electromagnetic Field (TAMMEF).