What is Music Therapy?
“Music therapy is a systematic process of intervention wherein the therapist helps the client to promote health, using music experiences and the relationships that develop through them as a dynamic force of change” –Bruscia (1998) Defining Music Therapy
“Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients' abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words.” -American Music Therapy Association
What is Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy?
- Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy is a method of music therapy developed by Dr. Paul Nordoff (a pianist and composer) and Dr. Clive Robbins (a special educator). In this approach, therapists are committed to upholding the highest quality of both art and science. Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapists complete a one-year advanced clinical training program in addition to a Master’s Degree in Music Therapy. The training focuses on developing clinical musicianship and research skills through supervision, coursework, and the analysis of video-recorded music therapy sessions. Here are some of the core principles of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy:
- The Music Child: Every person is capable of meaningful interaction through music. In music therapy, we aim to promote growth through discovering and developing each person’s inner resources.
- Co-active Approach: The therapist and client create music together through improvising, writing songs, or playing composed popular songs and arrangements.
- Music-Centered Approach: Clinical goals are addressed within the experience of creating music. In this approach, all of the components of music (rhythm, tone, scales, idioms, dynamics, tempo, harmony, melody, etc.) are employed through composition and improvisation to connect with the innate musicality of each unique individual in therapy.
- Individualized Approach: Each person in therapy is on a unique process of growth; therefore, music therapy sessions are creatively facilitated to meet individualized needs and preferences.
"Evidenced-Based Practice is the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision making process for patient care. Clinical expertise refers to the clinician's cumulated experience, education and clinical skills. The patient brings to the encounter his or her own personal and unique concerns, expectations, and values. The best evidence is usually found in clinically relevant research that has been conducted using sound methodology." (Sackett D, 2002)
“We must not underestimate what changes could become possible through a creative approach, especially when the explorative nature of music therapy based on improvisation discloses areas of ability and sensitivity which would otherwise remain undiscovered,” -Clive and Carol Robbins (1991, p. 233) in Case Studies.
"Music can reach into and express the healthy part in each of us. This state is difficult to experience if mental, physical or emotional problems stand in the way, and music can offer an opportunity to work with these problems,” -Barbara Hesser (1995, pp. 46-47) in Listening, Playing, Creating: Essays on the Power of Sound.