Music Therapy

What is music therapy?

As defined by the Canadian Association of Music Therapists (CAMT, September 2020), Music Therapy is a discipline in which Certified Music Therapists (MTAs)* use music purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, health, and well-being. Music Therapists use music safely and ethically to address human needs within cognitive, communicative, emotional, musical, physical, social and spiritual domains.

*Music Therapist Accredited

Based on a foundation of client-centered care, Certified Music Therapists use a variety of active and receptive interventions designed to meet the needs and preferences of clients. To ensure interventions are accessible for all ages and abilities, music therapy can be verbal and non-verbal. Music therapy is guided by clinical assessments, treatment plans, and therapeutic goals and objectives.

who are Certified Music Therapists?

To hold the title of Certified Music Therapist (MTA), an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a member in good standing with the Canadian Association of Music Therapists (CAMT)
  • Successfully complete a minimum bachelor of music therapy degree at a CAMT recognized institution
  • Complete a 1000-hour clinical internship under the supervision of a CAMT-Approved MTA Supervisor
  • Write and pass the Certification Board of Music Therapists exam
  • Sign a Statement of Adherence to the CAMT Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice

Completion of a music therapy degree requires:

  • A strong proficiency in a variety of musical styles and instruments
  • The ability to conduct client assessments, and follow treatment plans which implement therapeutic techniques including musical improvisation and verbal counselling
  • Completion of approximately 1300 hours of clinical experience working within a multi-disciplinary care team
  • Knowledge in client population, documentation, and ethical frameworks

Certified Music Therapists work in a variety of clinical settings including:

  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Schools
  • Hospices
  • Day treatment programs
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Community programs
  • Correctional centres
  • Substance use and addictions centres
  • Private practice

Music therapy goals and outcomes will vary depending on the client, environment, and purpose of interventions. Common outcomes may include:

  • Opportunities for safe self-expression and communication
  • Developing and recognizing coping strategies
  • Reducing perception of pain, and symptom management
  • Enhancing inter-personal relationships
  • Promoting relaxation and inner-strength
  • Decreasing isolation and loneliness
  • Facilitating rehabilitation

*Please note that due to the confidentiality of our clients, all images are stock photos
References: CAMT (2020). Retrieved from: